Agency Network: 
June 2009

Also From This Campaign 3

Advertising Agency: Brew
Production Company: RunnerRunner
Creative Director: Bruce Bildsten
Director: Josh Thacker
Editor: Brian Slater
Art Directors: Ned Sundby-Munson, Dawn Yemma
Writers: Bruce Bildsten, Tim Bildsten
Line Producer: Amy Thompson
Agency Producer: Kel Nelson
Colorist: Oscar Oboza/Pixel Farm
Photographer: Curtis Johnson
Production Co. Producer: Kathy Yerich
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Guest's picture

For shacka, my cracka??? Terrible!!! SMH.
Bruce and tim are morons. They all seem to hate black people and get their complete understanding of a culture and a people from tv, rap videos and third rate movies.

They did this to be controversial. The sad part is this is what this agency expects to put them on the map??? Complete and utter idiocy!

Guest's picture

I saw these spots about a week ago on another blog. There were a few comments from both sides of the aisle there, too. At the time, I was indifferent. I thought they were sort of funny and sort of offensive, but I didn't think they were anything that was worth getting worked up about. Now that I see the credits, I realize that these are far from mindless clutter. Bruce Bildsten, the CD at Brew, has one of those "to die for" track records. The guy is a legend. He was one of the leaders of BMW films and has two Emmy awards on his shelf. (I'm sure they have plenty of company, too) It seems like a lot of people are wondering what Bruce, and the people involved on this project were thinking by suggesting that they're all hacks. Clearly that's not case. I'm guessing this was one of many concepts, and they had to choose it for a reason.

I'm not from Minneapolis, so I searched Chicago Lake Liquors. It turns out the store is in the "ghetto-fabulous" part of town. One review mentioned the armed off-duty cop at the door. Another claimed that the store used to be owned by a mobster. (It's since changed hands) The store's website claims that they are the highest volume liquor retailer in minnesota and they have "everyday low prices" which can't be beat anywhere around the city. They also claim that their neighborhood just adds to the shopping experience. It really seems like they have embraced their ghetto-fabulous-ness. Their longtime slogan, "I Survived Chicago Lake Liquors." sums them up pretty well.

So, their "urban" customer base has put them ahead of the local competition. The areas mentioned on the print ads like Wayzata and Edina, are the snooty suburbs outside the city. The guys in the TV spots are a soccer dad, white-collar executives, and some guy that looks like he got lost on the way back from the yacht club. Obviously, these ads are trying to appeal to a suburban audience or at least people from outside of their current reach. So, how do you get suburbanites to come to a very urban liquor store that's known mostly for being a scary place, but has great prices?

They decided to take all of this head on. I think these ads are more about "urban" vs "suburban" than "black" vs "white". While there are racial undertones, the main joke is on the white guys who are trying to "act" in way that makes fun of the suburban ideal of "urban". They're not supposed to be smooth. The copy is crude for a reason. These guys know that they aren't going to fit in, but they try to fake the funk to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, they lead sheltered lives. This is what they spew out as a result. The white-collar guys are suddenly aspiring to lead a blue-collar lifestyle. If anything, these portray reverse racism. The minorities in the ads just look on in disbelief at how ridiculously the white guys are acting. With the exception of the Grill spot, they're clearly not even trying to fit in. They're just playing up every overdone "white guy goes ghetto" stereotype portrayed in modern pop-culture. Well-to-do white guys pretending to be "hood" is nothing new. It's not like they're really pushing the limits with this campaign. If anything, it could have been more exaggerated. I'm sure they considered this, but choose to dial it to the current level for a reason. The end tag line, "At least the prices are for real." clearly says that the white guys in the spots aren't trying to be real.

The strategy was clearly thought out and as far as the executions go, I don't think it's fair to compare this to Smirnoff's Tea Partay. That was for an international brand with a multimillion dollar budget. Chicago Lake Liquors probably doesn't have the same resources at their disposal. The message was completely different, too.

As far as local ads go, these will surely turn heads. If they get a few people outside of their usual customer base talking, they have done their job... and as these blogs prove, they will talk. Sure, some people might be a little offended at first, but eventually people will be talking about how Chicago Lake Liquors has low prices. Brew is banking on the fact that low-prices are enough to lure suburbanites into the hood. The ads also make it seem like this store might actually be a fun place to shop. I hope it works out, and more people laugh at these than are offended.

Sorry, to ramble. I just don't think these deserve the heck they're getting. Why are ad people getting so cynical these days?

Guest's picture

Sir/Madame, Your apologist rhetoric doesn't make this ignorant and hurtful campaign any better.

Bruce's credentials don't preclude him from the racist overtones of this campaign, quite the contrary. They only reinforce suspicions of his cultural cluelessness and overt prejudice tendencies. So in spite of all the worthless metal (read trophies), that are the hallmark of a racist and far less than diverse advertising industry and a "to die for track record," (big deal) he comes off as an insensitive lout. No amount of hollow accolades can disguise this. How would he feel if this were indirectly hurtful to his own family members as I'm sure some Black people may feel? Your 'white privileged' frame of reference totally blinds you from seeing anyone else's hurt or discomfort. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be so blind to other human beings.

But I guess nobody's well being matters as long as Bruce and company are getting attention. Even negative attention whoring is seen as a good thing by some small minded individuals. As made obvious by this campaign appearing here after all the other disparaging remarks this poor example of work has received.

By call the neighborhood "ghetto-fabulous" you are revealing the very attitude of prejudice this campaign has tried to deny playing off of. People in low income neighborhoods are mostly due to this type of systemic racism. It's a not so subtle death by a thousand blows. But please know this; Your response & Brew's 'campaign' is all symptomatic of your own fear and ignorance of people very slightly different from you.

Just listen to the way you refer to the people in the low income neighborhood. You use words like ghetto, mobster and your portrayal of the vicinity are all very disparaging code for sub-human. The imagery that even you present paint a less than human or worthy of degradation scenario. But then you refer to the 'white people' as suburban, soccer dad, white collar, executive, yacht club, these are all buzz words that are erroneously equate to 'honorable good and decent human beings.' Don't you see your own folly and participation in furthering prejudices.

They decided to not take any of the real insights into consideration, they were lazy. Black/white and urban/suburban are just codified language that mean the same thing and can be easily manipulated to pretend otherwise. It's amazing how you get to the heart of the matter of racist overtones and suddenly glaze it over and rush past the entire issue. Do you understand that you are merely explaining the obvious, we've all seen the ads, you have not begun to address the problem. Everyone gets 'the awkward white guy explanation,' we've seen it a million times, nothing new there. You admit that it is overwrought. Then why are you trying to apologize for it? Once again you go into gloss-over mode "but choose to dial it to the current level for a reason." Yes, they did. I would suggest to you the reason is laziness, ignorance and perhaps unintended prejudice.

The strategy was poorly thought out. They could have achieved the same results as smirnoff with the budget given, the ideas were not there.

I don't apologize for my disdain. But I do wonder why advertising, the alleged creative institution it is, can't truly understand people. After all it is their proclaimed area of expertise.

Guest's picture

I absolutely amazed.
Two "guests" that can go into polemic with each other without using excessive expletives. And that can construct complete sentences.
Welcome back anytime...

kurtberengeiger's picture

Sorry, but these all remind me of Smirnoff's "Tea Partay".

Activity Score 7307
krautland's picture

yeah, I had a similar reaction and tea partay is superior to this execution. that however doesn't kill this for me.

Activity Score 3182
Art Director at erm... no calls please.
Guest's picture

The 'Tea Party' spots were sooooo much better.
They took into account many cultural norms and turned them on their heads.
There was an ownership of sensibilities and acknowledgement of who the
characters were. The Smirnoff spots have an actual thought process that is visible
in the final product.

The 'people' who did these hackneyed ads just said. "let's 'act' black, that's always funny,
yeah it sure is funny when we do it around the office!"

Guest's picture

is anyone surprised that 'krautland' sees some merit in these spots?

Guest's picture

Bruce? Is that you?

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