Hooper’s Hooch became the first alcopop to advertise on TV this week
with a perplexing new campaign by Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.
The central character is a burly, unshaven, tattooed man, who struts
around a bar dressed in a yellow, flowery dress. In all three ads, his
strange attire passes completely without comment.
The ‘Hooch man’ - played by Clive Russell, best known for his role in
the crime series, Cracker - is first seen from behind. He strides into
a busy pub during a teaser execution which makes no mention of Hooper’s
Hooch, except that Russell is clutching a bottle.
A second teaser shows Hooch man, still in a dress, surrounded by a crowd
drinking pints at the bar and laughing at his jokes, pleading: ‘Tell us
another.’ In response, Hooch man begins: ‘A man walks into a bar...’
The main film shows the central character leaving the bar. Outside, he
comes across two policemen who demand: ‘Do you know where you are?’ They
then ask him to show them the way back to the station. Hooch man grabs
both of them by the hand and leads them off, as the campaign’s endline,
‘refreshment that requires respect’, appears on the screen.
The commercials were directed by Paul Weiland, written by Mark Wnek and
Matt Bartley and art directed by Kiki Kendrick. The ads steer clear of
any direct appeal to underage drinkers, although some TV spots will be
shown before the 9pm watershed.
Kevin Wallace, the senior brand manager, said: ‘Hooch already has
substantial market leadership so we are excited about the potential
impact of a TV campaign. It gives us the chance to deal with some of the
issues that we have faced since the brand’s introduction last year.’
As market leader in the sector, Hooch has been at the centre of the
controversy surrounding alcopops’ appeal to children. The brand’s
packaging was changed after the Portman Group, which regulates alcohol
marketing through a voluntary code, decided the cartoon fruit characters
on Lemon, Blackcurrant and Orange Hooch could appeal to underage
Euro RSCG won a place on the Bass roster in August for Grolsch and
Hooper’s Hooch, which together are worth an estimated pounds 6 million
(Campaign, 23 August).