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Canadian Club Digs Deeper For Meaning

Posted by: David Kiley on October 24, 2007


Canadian Club is not afraid of my father. And they think I shouldn’t be either. They are right, of course.

Two decades after Oldsmobile flopped with “This Is Not Your father’s Oldsmobile,” Beam Global Wine & Spirits and BBDO Energy have launched the first campaign for Canadian Club since Michael Dukakis was seen as presidential timber. The provocative headline on the first ad: “Damn Right Your Father Drank It.”

The ad goes on to convey to me that my Mom wasn’t my Dad’s first. Okay…well…whatever. But I think she was.

What I like about this ad: It attempts to tap into a very real process that goes on with men when they get into their 30s and 40s. We wonder from time to time, “Am I becoming my Dad?” Hell no. And by the way, 45 is the new 25. and 60 is the new 40.

The “not his first” implication is meant to tap the moment when we got into our 20s and realized that Dad had a regular guy side. The older I got, the more I understood him, and saw the parallels between us.

There are times when I want to channel my Dad, and I feel great about it. No lie. I bought a bottle of Jade East from Vermont Country Store last year. It was what he had on his dresser when I was a kid. I wear one of his ties from time to time. I have a great picture taken of him at his typewriter, taken by a Pulitzer Price winning photographer, the faint wisp of smoke curling up from his ashtray. And when recently presented with an opportunity to do a substantial act of charity, I asked myself, “What would Charles do?”

And so it is sometimes with booze. I enjoy whiskey, or in the case of CC, “whisky.” CC wasn’t my Dad’s drink, though he did drink it sometimes. It was, on the other hand, his brother’s drink; a Catholic monsignor I very much looked up to. Every Christmas there was a bottle of CC for Fr. John.

As I get older, I realize that I do have the opportunity and desire to adopt some of my Dad’s characteristics. Or maybe they have always been mine, and some come out with a bit of age. In any case, I’m down with channeling Charles and the Monsignor.

This ad beats a lot of static booze ads simply trying to convey an image. BBDO Energy creative chief Marty Orzio dug a bit deeper to tr and create a fresh story around what has become a pretty moribund brand with no marketing energy at all.

Orzio thinks the ad is tapping into a quest some men go on to rediscover a little old-school masculinity, the kind that was more in fashion 30 or 40 years ago than it is today—cigars, a drink after work, dressing up for a meeting instead of dressing down, cuff-links, etc.

I lift my glass. And come to think of it…my Dad was an Oldsmobile man.

Reader Comments


November 9, 2007 10:53 AM

I can understand the merits of this campaign. Many guys have warm and fuzzy feelings about our dads, but what if we don't want to be like our dads? What if we don't want to adapt our fathers' characteristics? This campaign can easily bring up negative images of our fathers, images we may not like and associate this brand with those unpleasant images.


March 31, 2009 2:03 PM

I love this campaign.

It ties into an era which I think many young men envy and will want to emulate and redefine.

The 60s and 70s.
Knowing that their dads had a fun, wilder side. "Their "good old days". A time when muscle cars were cool. The sexual revolution was in full swing. Music was really rockin, and having a secure company job for 20 years was common. The future looked bright and the possibilities endless.
I don't know if they really drank CC that often, but history is redefined by whoever is telling the story.

Great branding.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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