Has anyone seen the latest advert for Gordon’s and tonic?
Two people are discussing what to do for the evening and one of them voices a long list of suggestions. The other sounds a bit bored and after listening for a while suggests instead going for a Gordon’s and tonic – which they decide on instantly – like it’s a no-brainer.
I’m struggling because on the one hand, what’s the problem? – simply two people deciding to go for a drink. But it’s the subtext in the way they hit upon the idea. There is a definite devil-may-care attitude and a half-glance from one to the other that acknowledges their chosen activity isn’t really on a par with the real ones they’ve just rejected (like the movies, a gallery, a night-market, dancing, a play etc) but is in reality way more fun than any of them – and don’t we all know it – nudge nudge, wink wink!!
Is this what adverts do?
The advert deliberately elevates the status of its product to a higher level – it’s what adverts do, I guess – but in this case there’s a knowing cynicism in the way it appeals to the problem drinker (one of their core markets, of course) by allowing him/her to feel fine about choosing alcohol purely for its own sake – no disguising it behind the respectability of a theatre trip or any other sociable pastime.
Gordon’s wants us to feels uninhibited in our choice. And their advert celebrates drinking for drinking’s sake.
It says there are normal, likable people, just like the ones in their advert who drink in this way. So why not you too?
And to a non-problem drinker, it’s just a fun advert for Gordon’s and tonic.
Is that responsible? I’m not sure that it is.
For more about my own drinking, visit my book page