View Full Version : Bourbon on Television

10-02-2000, 16:25
We have discussed the self imposed regulation that the industry placed on itself after prohibition and it looks likr another one has bitten the dust. Brown-Forman has started to advertise Jack Daniel's on television locally on Sunday during football games. The surprising thing is that there has been very little outcry from the public. There was an article in the Courier-Journal about the ads last week but no general protest from the public. Personally I feel it is about time distilled spirits get equal time with the beer companies. I just hope that the bourbon ads never get as "dumbed down" as the beer ads.

Mike Veach

10-04-2000, 14:26

> Brown-Forman has started to advertise Jack Daniel's on television locally on
> Sunday during football games.

Sweet Jesus! I'm surprised this hasn't been big news in our current atmosphere of "We must protect the children!" and assorted nonsense.

> The surprising thing is that there has been very little outcry from the
> public.

It is surprising, but then again when there is already an abundance of liquor ads in magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc., who's going to notice them showing up on TV? I doubt many people ever noticed that there weren't liqour ads on TV.

> Personally I feel it is about time distilled spirits get equal time with the
> beer companies.

Amen, brother. But I do see price hikes as being necessary to support this expensive method of advertising.

> I just hope that the bourbon ads never get as "dumbed down" as the beer ads.

Don't get those hopes up too high. Ever see the single malt ads they run on UK TV? Not so far removed from our T&A Bud commercials stateside. Long as they don't change the whiskey I'll just accept it as an inevitable sign of "progress".


10-04-2000, 15:24
I don't think that we will see too much of a dumb down factor for a while because they will keep the ads classy until it is more familiar in the public eye. Prohibition still cast its long shadow on the industry and there are people who would love to jump on the "think of the children" bandwagon.
Mike Veach

10-06-2000, 09:12
My theory for why there hasn't been much public outcry is that most people aren't consciously aware that spirits have never been advertised in the broadcast media in the past. If the industry continues to be smart about it I don't think there will be any big outburst. For the most part, broadcast media will be limited to brands and products that are competing for "share of stomach" with other mass-marketed beverages like beer, cheap wine, and soft drinks. That's why Kahlua is out there selling its pre-mixed cocktails. We're unlikely to see Booker Noe on TV hawking Distiller's Masterpiece.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

10-06-2000, 11:50
To a point I agree with you. I do think that you may see the premium and super premium brands on television eventually but only in a low keyed dignified manner. I see this happening because the media is simply too tempting not to use for these brands that are the real money makers for the companies. They may only make a dollar a case off the cheap brands so they do have to sell in them in great volume but they also have the least amount to spend on this expensive media. I think you are more likely to see a television ad for Very Old Barton than Ten High.
Mike Veach

Theron Volkman
10-09-2000, 08:49
Let's hope that they don't significantly lower the quality of bourbon like I think they have beer. It's my opinion that most of the
large commercial breweries produce a cheap swill that is made for people that don't really like the taste of beer. The smaller
"micro-brewers" produce a much more flavorfull variety of beer.

Don't drink yellow beer!

10-09-2000, 15:44
The bourbon industry already tried a "light" whiskey and it flopped worse than one of Linn's jokes. I don't think we need to worry too much about the industry lowering the standards because of television. The main reason that quality will stay high is because they can get a better price for a higher quality product.
Mike Veach

10-09-2000, 16:28
On the surface, I would agree that the nature of bourbon is unlikely to change for the worse in order to accomodate a market attracted via television. But the more thought I give to it, the less sure I am.

First of all, I'd really be surprised to find an "As Seen on TV" sticker on bourbon anytime soon, anyway. These guys are so terrified of what Prohibition taught them (both the Volstead act and the more recent tobacco experiences) that they'll probably be the LAST to risk television ads. I think we'll see Scotch ads before we see ads for Bourbon.

But the first will probably be Rum, because it appeals to a wide variety of folks who like the myriad of fruitjuicy cocktails you can make with it. It ties in with Carribbean cruises and Florida beach parties. The image that seems to work best for a television audience is "Let your hair down, destroy your cellphone/laptop/pager, crank up the tunes, and party your face off. No rules. Just right." Actually, not such a bad idea at times. But hardly what the bourbon industry is currently promoting as its image. Horses, antique club rooms filled with fat leather upholstered chairs and fireplaces, men in suits with cigars sipping from snifters. These images went over pretty well on television in the fifties.

But I doubt it'll ever be that way again. I think Theron may have a point... IF the bourbon marketers want to attract a television-based market, it will need to be a very different market than they're currently courting. And it would probably respond better to cleverly promoted drinks CONTAINING bourbon (perhaps marketed through franchised fun-type restaurant/bars such as Bennigan's, Chili's, or Red Lobster) than to straight bourbon itself. If that means most of America will think of bourbon the way they now do of Budweiser or Miller, so be it. The good stuff will still be here for us. After all, if it weren't for Bud, Wise, Er, and Miller-Time, would we even HAVE micro breweries today?


10-10-2000, 11:55
>But the first will probably be Rum, because it appeals to a wide variety of folks who like the myriad of fruitjuicy cocktails you can make with it.

My prediction is that tequilla will be the first spirit (if any) to really advertise on TV. I think that the margarita is a very popular party drink which is popular among women as well as men, and (most importantly) has a "fun" image that can be played up on TV. Personally, I don't think that rum has (or can be given) an image that can be played up on TV.

10-10-2000, 15:02
I think you are missing my point here by arguing who is going to be the first to advertise on TV. Jack Daniel's is already doing it here in Louisville and Seagrams had been doing it down in Texas with Crown Royal for several years. The first has already happened.
Mike Veach

10-11-2000, 07:57
Seagram's actually started this in March of 1996 with a cable TV spot that ran during an equestrian event on the Prime Sports network. Then Seagram's launched a one month, one station TV advertising campaign in Corpus Christi, Texas. The ads were for Crown Royal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy II and President Clinton both announced their opposition to attempts to end the voluntary ad ban, but their protests didn't gain much political traction. Seagram's position was that spirits deserved to be on an equal footing with beer and wine. The broadcast media were in their infancy when the ban was adopted. Today the electronic media are dominant.

One concern that spirits makers had in '96 was that the ban on electronic media might be interpreted as including the Internet. If it did, they reasoned, they would be dead, restricted from using all of the most effective media.

In November of 1996, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States announced that the industry had adopted a revised code permitting radio and television commercials for distilled spirits. Ever since, the industry has taken baby steps, mostly because so few of the industry's products have enough mass appeal to warrant broadcast advertising.

Where we may start to see more of it is this fall, as Christmas approaches, for hospitality and gift giving.

One additional point. Some states have their own restrictions, particularly governing licensees. In some states, TGI Fridays can advertise its Jack Daniel's steaks. In other states, it can't.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

10-11-2000, 14:17
>I think you are missing my point here by arguing who is going to be the first to advertise on TV. Jack Daniel's is already doing it here in Louisville and Seagrams had been doing it down in Texas with Crown Royal for several years. The first has already happened.

I guess I didn't make myself very clear. When I said that tequilla would be the first to (if any) to *really* adversise on TV, I meant *really do it in a big way*, like budweiser. National campaigns, lots of airtime. Things that the public (and politicians) will notice.

10-11-2000, 15:50
I concede you the point. Tequila may be the first to advertise "Big Time" on television.
Mike Veach

12-13-2001, 21:32
Heard on a radio talk show this evening (Dec. 13, 2001)...

NBC will feature a hard liquor infomercial or public service ad warning about drinking and driving on its next 'Saturday Night Live' program.

The talk show guy said it's the first time the network airs any type of hard liquor spot to a national audience in many years. He said the spot is hawking Smirnoff vodka.


12-14-2001, 09:28
NBC's decision to start airing hard liquor ads is loaded with conditions, according to an article in today's New York Times. Here's a glimpse of the criteria the advertisers must meet:

- Ads must run after 9 p.m.
- Actors used in ads must be at least 30 years old
- Liquor makers must run a series of 'socially responsible' messages (designated driving, moderate consumption, etc) for FOUR months before they can run spots hawking their brands.

The spending for the 4 month series of responsible messages that Guinness/UDV is embarking on Saturday was called a "multi-million dollar" campaign.

The networks will make millions. I applaud responsible public service messages. But I wonder how much Smirnoff vodka will cost, say one year from now.

Can Jack and Jim be far behind?


12-14-2001, 13:24
The Diageo/NBC deal really marks the end of a process that began in the sumer of 1996, when Seagrams ran some Crown Royal spots on a TV station in Texas. In November of 96, DISCUS (the industry trade group) revised the ad code permitting distillers to advertise on TV. Except for the professional outcriers, there was no public outcry. One by one, individual TV stations and cable networks began to accept advertising. The pace picked up in the past year, because advertising revenues have been down overall.

The other networks will wait a month or two to see if the sky falls on NBC, then they'll follow suit.

Spirits ads in the broadcast media are good because they help "normalize" the attitude toward spirits, away from the "hard liquor" perception that says spirits products are inherently more "dangerous" than beer and wine.

Ironically, the biggest opposition to permitting spirits on radio and TV has come from brewers, who don't welcome what they believe will be additional competition.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by cowdery on Fri Dec 14 12:26:55 2001 (server time).</FONT></P>

12-14-2001, 14:34
Omar, advertising spending should not automatically increase price. In fact, over the long run it should reduce price. The reason is that the better known a brand becomes the more it sells. The more it sells the more they can run at capacity and reduce other costs. That holds price or reduces it. That is one reason why Wal-Mart can sell at low prices (and their extreme operational and supply-chain efficiency is another).

But... of course, sometimes in the meantime prices DO go up...so I agree we'll have to wait and see.


06-19-2002, 16:49
The Louisville, KY newspaper recently ran a story about the great 'hit' Makers Mark got in the movie 'Spiderman'. There's a scene featuring a very tight close up of the villain's hand reaching for the bottle of MM to soothe his troubled soul.

And I'm told the new movie 'Ya Ya Sisterhood' also mentions Maker's. But the reference appears historically flawed -- someone carrying a glass of Makers in the 1940s. Makers did not exist until the 1950s.

Bet Mr. Samuels isn't complaining.


06-20-2002, 07:49
Lest anyone think otherwise, product placements in movies are bought and paid for by the marketers. The two I noticed in "Spider-Man" (the other was for Dr. Pepper) were the most blatant I have ever seen, centered and full screen with the label facing just right. I found it jarring. Maybe the director will say those two shots (of the Maker's bottle and Dr. Pepper can) were meant to contrast the two characters, the worldly adult man and the naive boy. Sure. They looked like blatant commercials to me.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-20-2002, 08:53

I wish I still had the Louisville article. Apparently the director of Spider Man drinks Makers and someone brought a case to the set! Ummmm.

06-20-2002, 09:46
I watched Emeril one time , he just finished a dish and he said I will top it off with a fine bourbon........It was Elijah Craig......I could not see the label but I know the bottle all too well.

I also heard that Booker was on his show...... on a nearby table was a familiar red wax bottle.....somebody didn't have their heads screwed on that day to make such a obvious mistake........If the story is true......I did not get to see the show it but I heard about it from several people...............

Bettye Jo

06-20-2002, 10:33
Somebody had his or her head in deep to do that! Surely they have an inkling who Booker is and which side his toast is buttered on!!!! I don't have anything against Makers Mark but it has a persona as being a snob brand mostly among people who aren't well versed in bourbon. Someone told them it's cool good and expensive and they buy it. It has tremendous Brand presence and recoginition , maybe it's the red wax. To their credit they do one thing and do it right , they made small batch long before Beam coined the phrase. It's still under 20.00 a 750ml in most places. Knob Creek broke out of the gate at about 26.00. If it's your drink then go for it , I think it is best saved for those situations of limited choice I have seen referred to on this forum . " Let's see , Canadian Club, Old Crow , and Maker's hummm Here's to you Mr. Samuels!"

Bobby Cox

06-20-2002, 11:02
I saw the show with Booker. If I remember correctly, the Maker's label was covered, but the red wax top was unmistakable. Emeril used it in the dish he was making, right in front of Booker. Ouch!

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-20-2002, 11:06
Here is a <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.courier-journal.com/business/news2002/05/08/bu050802s202668.htm>link to the Courier Journal story</A> about Maker's in "Spider-Man."

The company that normally handles placement for Maker's claims this one was free. I find that hard to believe.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-20-2002, 11:21
Ya know, I'm as saltly as they come...... when provoked........ A man of Booker's caliber deserves respect..........that stupid ass move was a slap in the face.... and if I were in his company..... on that show I would have told them just exactly where to shove that bottle...... and ya can bet you ass it would be loud and real, real, real, nasty!!!!!

Bettye Jo

06-20-2002, 17:30
Well, I have seen the exact same thing with different products on the late Justin Wilson's cooking show. Crystal hot sauce was his biggest sponsor at the time. There was a bottle of Crystal where everyons could see it clearly. But when he was adding hot sauce to his recipes, he picked up a small bottle with a towel or something, but anyone could easily tell it was a Tabasco bottle.

I honestly can't believe that the sponsors will allow things like that. The least they could do would be to put the favored brand in the sponsor's package.

But, boy oh boy, did I love Justin. I watched him for years and learned a lot about Cajun cooking and cooking in general.


06-20-2002, 21:45
It is hard for me to believe that the ad was free.........I was talking to a few people about the Spiderman movie and about the bottle being on there for free.............I asked them how they knew about it....... They told me that they were members of the Maker's Mark Ambassador Club.......Yeah right ......what is the A C for Makers?............It's a club that promotes Makers Mark bourbon and it also informs them where to get the new released bottles etc.......Their membership informed them that Bill S. is a friend of one of the people who made the movie....... and it was done for free.... so they say.....

I am not a member of the Ambassador Club......But if my Papa Hall (Alvah G.Hall)were alive today he would be a member. Maker's Mark was his favorite..... His last days were always started with what he called a "LITTLE BIT" in my coffee .....OHHHHHHHHH YUCKKKKKKK!

He drank Maker's and lived to be 92.......... He also had a brother and a sister live to be 100......Hmmmmmmmmmm maybe I should strart drinkin Makers?...................Yeah Right..............

Bettye Jo

06-21-2002, 06:47
Yeah it's gonna take a big grain of salt on this one. Thay say the ad is worth 75,000 dollars and all they did was send a case of it to the movie set. yeah right. I'll bet Brown Foreman would have sent them a case of anything they make for the same priviledge, what about Beam or Buffalo Trace , HH , Barton or any body else making this stuff. Damn guys you missed a hell of a chance here! Oh but I forgot the director LIKES makers, I guess he was just being a bud. And Bill Samuels is supprized and being covered up with phone calls. So is MM the most recognizable brand ? Hank used to sing about Jim Beam, I think they had something worked out . One of my grandfathers' relatives like a cousin or something worked at Beam He ran into him at a funeral or something and asked if he was still at Beam's and he said sort of , he got his check from them but when Hank was on the road he traveled with them and was the Bartender. Then there was George Thorogood , but hell he sang about them all!

Bobby Cox

06-21-2002, 08:42
If you were going to pick a brand for that character, Maker's probably is the right brand. Mainstream but upscale. The acceptable bourbon for the single malt scotch and imported vodka set. But the full screen beauty shot? I find it very hard to believe that was gratis and find it interesting that they're pushing the story that it was gratis.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-21-2002, 09:39
I think it was free. If I made a movie, I'd definitely put in all my favorite
products. Chick-fil-A, Cheerwine, RC Cola, Duck Head...


06-21-2002, 18:36
Don't forget ZZ Top - "Arrested for Driving While Blind". It is so funny.


06-23-2002, 12:50
Yeah, but if Duck Head offered you a few chinos and Dockers offered you $75,000...

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-23-2002, 17:53
>Yeah, but if Duck Head offered you a few chinos and Dockers offered
>you $75,000...

No way, dude. I'd walk away from the 75k. I'm not a sellout. If it were
a product that moderately liked, then I'd think about it.

What if someone wanted to pay you to put your name a low quality bourbon?
Chuck Cowdery's Olde Time Bourbon Whisky... and they offered you
$75k + a small % of sales? Would you do it? (The bourbon tastes like crap.)


06-24-2002, 07:50
Not an apples-to-apples comparison at all. Would it make a difference to the story or the success of the movie if the actor is wearing Dockers instead of Duck Head? Probably not. Product placements in movies are incidental and they usually don't do a placement that would be completely wrong for the character. My endorsement of a crap bourbon would destroy my reputation, which may still not be worth $75k+, but let's say it is. They aren't the same issue at all. Who says a director has to use his genuinely favorite products in a movie and if he doesn't, he's a sell-out? If it is story- or character-neutral (as is usually the case) and one product will pay you while another will not, why not use the product that will pay you? A better analogy would be two distillers approach me about endorsements, for products I like equally well. One wants to pay me while the other wants me to do it for the honor and glory. Which do I choose?

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

06-24-2002, 19:01
Chuck, maybe there's a new trend emerging in Hollywood.

Check out Tom Cruise's futuristic new movie 'Minority Report'.

This has to be the mother of all product placement or embedded advertising attempts in a movie. Everything from Aquafina water to Lexus gets maximum exposure. Just like Makers in Spiderman.


06-24-2002, 20:18
Even Scoobie Doo (this ridiculous scene with them twirling ketchup kik'rs around and never having the label face away from the camera).

I used to get movies cause the had NO commercials. . . .


06-25-2002, 11:00
The Courier-Journal article made the argument, valid as far as it goes, that branded products are a fact of life. I'm drinking Aquafina water right now, as I type this on my HP computer. The old idea of avoiding identifiable brands at all costs was what was false and unrealistic. I dunno. Maybe. Seinfeld was a pioneer in that regard, but I don't recall any full screen beauty shots of Snapple. It was more like real life, incidental and in the background. But, of course, advertisers won't pay for that. Maybe it's good that advertising continues to be such a blunt instrument. It might be more dangerous if it were more subtle.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

07-04-2002, 20:06
Well what do you know? Yet another summer movie flashing whiskey before our eyes. Men in Black II. Boxes of Jack Daniels for all to see.

Bonus: All you dog lovers will get a real kick out of this movie.


07-05-2002, 04:58
Hi Omar,

Ok,........ let's see........I bet ya they got all it done for free...... Hmmmmmmmmm gonna have ta give one of those movie producers my card and ask him ta do me a favor?....... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/shocked.gif Hmmmmmmmmm............... I bet ya it would take a lot more than a favor http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/blush.gif !!!!! If ya know what I mean. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/wink.gif

Bettye Jo

10-20-2005, 13:13
Now, I haven't seen this but I did notice that Kirsten Duntz was wearing a Maker's Mark t-shirt on one of the commercials. Any other bourbon product placement in the movie?

10-20-2005, 14:17
I just saw Elizabethtown and they do drink Blanton's in it

10-22-2005, 12:00
I just hope that the bourbon ads never get as "dumbed down" as the beer ads. &lt;

As in watered down from 86 to 80 proof Jack Daniels? Pretty soon it will be Jack Daniels 14 proof wine spritzer with a twrilly umberella in it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif