Jim Beam Invites Fans To Spoof Its Ads

Jim Beam/The Girlfriend If ever marketers wanted to reach young men who enjoy a sense of camaraderie and bawdiness, they could do worse than to import humor from Australia.

In "The Girlfriend," a buxom young thing with a mysterious accent that is a mishmash of Spanish, Bulgarian and Coy talks about what she wants in a man. "A leetle, um, faht, a leetle, ooh, 'air on ees back?" She goes on in her undies to say she likes a man who watches a ton of football, who goes to strip clubs and who does "whatevvvvver ee wants." Voiceover: "The girlfriend. Jim Beam. The bourbon."

Beam Global Spirits & Wine knew a winner when it saw that the commercial--created by The Works, Sydney, for its Down Under audience---started gaining traction on YouTube.

"It's tongue-in-cheek, and we wanted to tap into that humor," says Kelly Doss, senior director of Bourbons and Whiskeys for Beam Global. To that end, "The Girlfriend" has been airing since Jan. 19 on ESPN and TNT. "We did a very focused TV buy with this," she tells Marketing Daily," because we know [our targets] are sports fanatics, focused on the NBA--they're online, creative and they have passion." The spots end Feb. 15.



Leveraging the passionate, creative Web surfer, Jim Beam is launching "The Remake" contest, designed to challenge fans to create spoofed versions of "The Girlfriend" as well as two other commercials, "The Party" and "The Tragedy" (think beautiful lesbians). The contest dangles a grand prize of $25,000, a trip for four to Las Vegas, and a chance to have the winning video showcased on JimBeam.com. Four runners-up prizes--Sony HD digital video cameras---will also be awarded.

There will also be a "Best Story" winner for the most creative individual who uses humor and imagination instead of fancy video production equipment to create a successful commercial. The prize for "Best Story" is a Flip Mino video camera.

Consumer videos will be accepted through March 21. Five finalists will be chosen, from which the public will vote April 8 to May 8.

"It makes perfect sense to have a spoof campaign," says Doss. "Social media--that's where our consumer is spending their time, making plans, living their lives, engaging in dialogue, sharing brand news and information. We have to be where they're living."

Indeed, the brand is using Twitter, where it attracted 20,000 viewers during the "Baja 1000" for updates on Jim Beam-sponsored racecar driver Robby Gordon, per the company.

It also initiated a social media call to action through an online petition and viral widget urging fans to "Save Our Ballpark's Name" in support of Wrigley Field.

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