Willem Dafoe Stars in Ad For Jim Beam
Premium Bourbon Jim Beam has tapped actor Willem Dafoe for an unusual TV ad campaign.
Directed by Dante Ariola and created by New York ad agency StrawberryFrog, the ad uses Dafoe to talk about the choices we make in life and how they define who we are. "Life boils down to a series of choices," says Dafoe in the voiceover. "All choices lead you somewhere; bold choices lead you where you are supposed to be."
In between the statements, the commercial surprises and amuses the viewer with images of Dafoe as chess player, circus clean-up man, fashion designer, plant manager, sumo wrestler and trapeze artist. The commercial's last image is of a bottle of Jim Beam, suggesting this is the bold choice bourbon drinkers must make.
Spirits brands have increasingly been advertising on TV as the industry has lifted its voluntary ban on TV advertising in 1996. Even so, many companies did not advertise on TV for several years after, believing it was not the most cost effective way for them to get their message across.
More and more brands, though, are showing up on the airwaves, almost entirely on cable: Jack Daniels, 1800 Tequila; Tanqueray Gin. This Jim Beam ad, though, is easily one of the most interesting and provactive ads to come out of the lifted ad ban.
Bourbon sales have been trending higher in recent years. Beam says it will spend 40 percent more on advertising this year, compared with 2010. Cable viewers will see the Dafoe ad, titled "Parallels," mostly in 30-second versions. But a version lasting almost a miniute and a half is online, and figures to be the version shared most through social media channels.