"Ghost" features Corona's typical sun-kissed beach bathers relaxing shore-side as the music takes on an ominous tone. A shadowing figure moves across the sand, closing in on our holiday makers and is revealed to be ... gasp! a pale, ghostly, skinny white man. "Beware of ghosts. Happy Halloween," the ad concludes. It's running on major networks until Oct. 31 on prime-time and late-night programming.
Tom Lichtenheld, vice president/creative director/art director at Chicago-based Cramer-Krasselt, spoke to Marketing Daily about the ad and the agency's close ties with the brand.
MD: There don't seem to be a lot of beer ads tagged to Halloween. Why does Corona do them?
TL: The reason we do it is because Halloween has become a more and more important holiday. I think I read somewhere that it's even eclipsing Christmas. It's a fun holiday. I've been going through stores these past few days, and I'm shocked at the amount of merchandise you can buy related to Halloween.
MD: Halloween has gotten big, yes. How does it relate to the brand?
TL: Well, beer plays a part in a social holiday. We wanted to make Corona a part of that while staying true to the brand so that it doesn't feel like an irrelevant connection. That's how we come up with things like this spot. It's very rooted in the Corona world, on the beach, a typical Corona moment. Halloween is a big social occasion. Not to get too philosophical about it, but people get to pretend they're someone else. In our ordinary, day-to-day lives, you get to pretend. The brand transports you.
MD: What's with the skinny white guy?
TL: He's an actor from Australia. We did a lot of casting for that guy, looking for someone thin, tall, geeky, pretty pale. He had to convey that personality at a glimpse. Have a sense of physical comedy. We called for casting in Mexico and L.A. ...
MD: You went to Mexico and L.A. looking for pale guys?
TL: ... yeah, imagine. But we went beyond that, too. We found him through a casting agent.
MD: Any massive protests outside your offices by skinny white men saying they're offended?
TL: Oh, there are plenty of us pale, white skinny guys. I could have been in the spot. But, no, they haven't organized and protested outside the office. I don't think many would want to admit to being a part of that group!
MD: It sounds as though you enjoy working on the brand.
TL: We have fun with Corona. The key is to take this world and keep it interesting. It's a seductive world with the fantasy beach, blue skies, sunshine ... We have to switch it off, do unexpected things with hit, challenge ourselves. A holiday is a good opportunity to do that. You can do a little more with a holiday spot than with a brand spot. Fuse Halloween with Corona ...
MD: Where do you shoot the Corona spots?
TL: In Mexico, in the Riviera Maya south of Cancun. There are beautiful white sand beaches, and since it's a Mexican beer, it's nice to keep it in Mexico.