A Look Back…
at Celebrities
& Brands
This month’s “Starstruck” cover story
inspired us to look back over decades
for early examples of celebrities in wine
and spirits promotions…. Surprisingly,
we found few.
Orson Welles pitching Paul Masson on
TV represented a famous exception to
the norm. Stars connecting to wine and
spirits brands is mostly a very recent
The long-running series of “Dewar’s
Profiles” ads featured not only actors
(such as Jerry Orbach pictured here), but
also professionals in other fields, from
photography to wildlife conservation and
beyond. These relatively unknown (at
the time) “do-ers” offered up tidbits of
info, a “why I do what I do” quote and,
of course, their favorite Scotch. They
were not paid to appear, and the series
of 80+ profiles stretched from the late
1960s into the early ’90s.
Over the years, marketers used
Beverage Media
to publicize their consumer
advertising. In 1977, Riunite drew attention
to the brand airing spots during
The Sonny
& Cher Comedy Hour
Still, ads in our pages more frequently
banked on the looks of a model rather
than a recognizable star. Usage of models
was widespread enough, in fact, to prompt
a playful twist in a Marie Brizard ad of
2000, in which the “modèle” accepts a
drink from the bartending “créateur.”
Tanqueray broke fresh celebrity
ground in 2002, running a series of ads
featuring Laurence Fishburne, Tony
Bennett, Hugh Hefner, Tracey Ullman
and supermodel Iman.
And in the hindsight, it’s worth
applauding the foresight of the folks
behind Svedka, who in 2005 created
their own quasi-celebrity—namely a sexy
“spokes-bot”—to promote the “#1 Vodka
of 2033.”
Beverage Media
February 2013
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