Southern Comfort’s Next Chapter — Does the new ad work?

Southern Comfort has launched the next chapter in the “Whatever’s Comfortable” campaign that I have been following for about a year (Aug14 and Dec19, 2012 as well as Jan 17, 2013). So far, according to Brown Forman, sales trends have turned around by 6% and the brand grew for the first time since 2008.

This latest effort marks a change in character from the original award winning effort, “Beaches,” which featured an interesting, everyday guy comfortable in his own skin as he casually walks down the beach. Here is the original.

The new ad execution has a different character but the same attitude. “We want to champion consumers to ‘be their awesome selves’ and that attitude comes out through this work,” said Mark Bacon, SVP, Managing Director, Southern Comfort. “We’re comfortable being Southern Comfort and we want our consumers to embody that same attitude about themselves.”

Here’s the ad by Wieden + Kennedy. I enjoyed the original ad a great deal but this one works for me as well.

What do you think? (You can also find it here.)


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Tuaca Liqueur – A Secret Worth Uncovering

V2.Tuaca_750_newbottleWhat happens when a great tasting product, but one that has been gathering dust on the shelf, tries to make it?

To tell the tale of this wannabe spirit, we need to start with its pronunciation. It’s Two-AH-Ka and it’s named for the two brothers-in-law that created it in 1938. Messrs. Tuoni and Canepa named it after themselves –TUACA, their combined names, get it?  The liqueur is said to have come from a recipe dating back to Lorenzo de Medici and the Italian Renaissance. So they say.

I first encountered the brand during my Seagram days and, despite efforts to make it happen, the brand languished as only an orphan brand could at that company. According to Sam Ellias, who worked on the brand at one point, they tried everything to make it a contender – changed the package, reduced the alcohol (to minimize the harshness) and worked hard at developing mixed drinks using Tuaca. (My favorite was the hot apple pie, consisting of Tuaca and hot apple cider.) Nothing helped the brand catch on. Throughout the 80’s, 90’s and into the 21st century, the brand, as they say, couldn’t get arrested.

Yet, there were pockets of strength including bartenders in different parts of the country. The poor little brand was kept a secret and hidden away. (Sob.)

Enter Brown Forman in 2004. The brand starts to grow a bit, but no real traction or spotlight to build a franchise among consumers. Still a stepchild.

I have a feeling that this is about to change.

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Southern Comfort Turnaround


An advertising campaign that actually works?

Wine and Spirits Daily reported recently that the Southern Comfort ad campaign seems to have paid off.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you won’t be surprised to learn that. (See Aug 4, 2012 and Dec 19, 2012.)

The brand’s net sales had been in decline for years but turned around in 2012. While 3% growth isn’t necessarily a big deal, for a brand that was hemorrhaging, it’s a road to recovery.

Judging from the emails and comments I received, I’m not surprised at all that the brand turned around.

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