A gritty new cinema commercial for Southern Comfort breaks this week,
spearheading a pounds 3 million campaign by Burkitt Edwards Martin to
revitalise the drink’s image.
The ad, Burkitt Edwards’ first major work on the account, emphasises the
brand’s roots and is set in the swamplands of Louisiana against a
background of Cajun-style music.
A host of quirky characters illustrates the endline: ‘Southerners have
their own rules.’ The spot opens with a man leaning against his house,
talking about how peaceful the area is, while in the background there is
a cacophony of noise from frogs and insects.
In another scene, an old woman stands outside her house, which is
surrounded by a network of motorways, singing ‘We shall not be moved’,
and declaring that she moved to Louisiana because she likes roads.
A third tableau shows a younger woman leaning against a pool table,
declaring longingly: ‘I used to dream of a white wedding.’ The film then
cuts to an image of her in full bridal regalia, screaming frantically,
before cutting back to her in the bar, groaning: ‘What a nightmare.’
Other cameos that make up the 60-second ad include a woman dragging an
alligator across her back garden, a saxophonist, and a man playing his
washboard in a bar.
The film was directed by Frank Budgen through Paul Weiland Films and
shot on location in Louisiana. At the agency, the commercial was written
by John Bedford and art directed by Paul Simblett.
Lionel Knight, the joint managing director of Burkitt Edwards, said:
‘The heritage of Southern Comfort had come under question. It is a great
brand, but it has become too familiar and even a bit soft - that’s a
problem the new advertising tackles head on.’
Burkitt Edwards won the Southern Comfort account almost a year ago
(Campaign, 26 May 1995) from the incumbent, Lowe Howard-Spink, which had
held the business for three years.
Eve Carpenter, the brand manager for Southern Comfort at International
Distillers and Vintners, said: ‘The new ads focus on the sociable,
independent attitude of Southern Comfort drinkers, an approach that
appeals to our target group of young adults.’