Thursday, June 26, 2008

Makers Mark misses the mark in Boston

Nearly every day I take the T (Boston’s subway) to work and have become intimately aware of the advertising within the cars. Most times it’s a random selection of local colleges, hair removal services and pleas to participate in medical testing, but every once in a while a brand will take over all the advertising space within multiple cars. This month’s interruption specialist is Makers Mark. Its entire campaign is focused on the peculiar accent of Bostonians. It comes across (to me anyway) as crass and desperate. For starters Makers Mark is made in Kentucky, not much of a location affinity there so I can only assume the company is making fun of the local accent. That’s fine from a local company, but a bit condescending from an outsider. But worse, I’m not sure what the message is. If you have a Boston accent Makers Mark is for you, if you don’t you should try another brand? That’s probably not what Makers Mark had in mind but that’s my read on it. And I can only wonder if true Bostonians relate to the campaign (I’m not originally from Boston so I’m an outsider in this outsider’s target). The lesson in this story is humor is great in advertising, but be careful of the humor you choose, your message just might fall flat.

If you work for Makers Mark and want to shed some light on the message you were going after I invite you to do so in the comments.


Sean said...

Hi there - I disagree. I've seen the rolling billboards that say, simply "Maker's Mahk" and I like the campaign. I think that even transplants to a region develop an identity based either on that region, or in reference to it. The ad means that Maker's Mark is for Boston. It's incongruent with the brand's Kentucky roots, for sure, but it does make me think about Boston while looking at a bottle of Maker's Mark Bourbon. Maker's Mark. Boston. Maker's Mark. Boston. I think the campaign works.

Sean said...

didn't mean to disagree so forceful, just a difference of opinion. Also, I enjoy bourbon and their product, so I suppose I'm in the market as well.

Great insight noticing the campaign though, love the blog!

John Skinner said...

I think the campaign is great as well, I love their bourbon and appreciate that they show a personalized connection to my city!

Larry from J.P. said...

I like it.