Canadian Club: Old-school cool
Don Draper, in the show 'Mad Men,' likes his CC straight up
COLIN CAMPBELL | August 27, 2008 |
In the first episode of Mad Men, the television show about a Madison Avenue advertising firm in the early 1960s, a new secretary is told to stock up on rye for her boss, the central character Don Draper. "Rye is Canadian, right?" she responds. What follows is a season of award-winning, phenomenally popular TV in which Draper and the other men in the show swill Canadian booze like it's more vital than air.
That kind of product placement is a dream come true for real-world advertisers. And as Mad Men has almost single-handedly made postwar American style cool again, it's taking once-staid rye brands like Canadian Club along for the ride. Thanks in part to the show, Canadian Club has been able to embrace what is normally a very bad thing — being saddled with the image of "your father's drink." This year, it rolled out an advertising campaign in Canada and the U.S. called "Damn Right Your Dad Drank It." One of the ads features a Don Draper-esque man (a real vintage photo from the 1960s) sitting with a glass of rye and a woman on his lap. The headline reads, "Your Mom Wasn't Your Dad's First." Another includes the line, "Your Dad Never Got a Pedicure."
The campaign wasn't trying to overtly mimic Mad Men, says Ginny Homewood, group marketing manager at Maxxium Canada, which markets and distributes Canadian Club. But there's no doubt it follows a trend sparked by that show. Homewood said market research showed younger drinkers tilting toward classic "masculine cocktails." Mad Men hasn't been the only retro kick for Canadian rye. The 1970s character from the movie Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, drank Manhattans, and CC has another campaign in the works featuring a cocktail it calls the "Burgundy." But don't expect to see a "Draper" any time soon — he took his rye neat.