Clearly the Oompa Loompas in Pandora’s advertising generation department are working hard. Pandora’s music service cleverly matched my occasional fondness for Irish music both old and new with an ad for another occasional Irish favorite, Jameson Irish Whiskey. The ad claimed about 2/3rds of the screen with a lovely shadowed green that was far more pleasing to the eye than most Pandora ads. While the simply agreeable image increases my likelihood of ordering Jameson on my next trip to a pub, I’m curious if the currently unprofitable Pandora venture earns more from seemingly well-targeted ads than from ads that employ the Dick Cheney-style “blast anything that moves with a shotgun” approach?
Yet as much as I figure I’m in their target demographic and wouldn’t mind supporting two products I enjoy, I struggled to envision what message Jameson would actually want to convey to me if I clicked on their link.
Before clicking through to their site, I opted to click the “add Jameson mixtape” to my Pandora station list. But instead of hearing the likes of Flogging Molly, The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Sinead O’Connor, U2, or The Chieftains, “the mixtape” bombarded me with a mix of Norwegian dance pop, Parisian techno, and 80’s influenced alt-pop (did I just make up a genre?). While I’ve never been to Ireland, I know many a Jameson drinker, and I’m quite certain no amount of Jameson would make us find this music pleasing.
Once into the Jameson site, we seem to have a case where an opportunistic junior executive must have mentioned all the fashionable phrases that “the boss” heard his grandchildren mention, i.e. social media, online sharing, flash animation, etc. For example, the “mixology” section presents a basic flash animation that shows the user how to make five Jameson-based cocktails. While a decent idea for liquor brands that work well in wacky concoctions, two of the “cocktails” are “Jameson Straight” and “Jameson on the Rocks”. The other three each feature Jameson with only one other mixer. And yes, the site allows the slow-witted and/or inebriated user to replay the flash animation, print the recipe, or send to friends. Thank St. Patrick we now have such amazing technology that we can share with our friends the secret of pouring whiskey into a glass, or, for those feeling really crazy, put ice cubes in a glass and THEN pour in the whiskey!
All kidding aside, the site did have some amusing, though slow to load, video of the leaders of the company discussing the finer points of the whiskey, as well as some mildly amusing historical text, and a nifty virtual tour of the production process.
Jameson is also sponsoring a 21 U.S. city comedy tour, and its’ flash-heavy subcategory (one of five for the entire site) features several links to related information and video clips. However, these all load slowly and in the amount of time I spent exploring the overly-animated links to figure out if the comedians might be worthy of my limited attention span, they could have autoloaded a highlight reel and saved the details for later.
Jameson clearly is throwing money at digital/social media communication, and we industry-folk should encourage them if only for the sake of our continuous employment. However, while they may be ahead of some of their competitors by simply using new technologies, like many other entities it seems they are not quite sure what exactly it is they want to communicate.