Project Runway Meets Mad Max

House music, elaborate costumes and the high desert. Someone’s been to Burning Man.

What was that? A new music video from Swedish House Mafia? Or a long-form ad from TBWA/Chiat/Day meant to sell Sweden’s favorite vodka mixed with grapefruit juice? I have to say, I’ve never seen such an elaborate effort to promote the Greyhound, a drink I enjoy when miles from the nearest dive bar.

Of course, the use of greyhounds in the spot has led to push back from animal rights activists. According to a report from Tucson Citizen:

And just like at the real dog track, an elegant black beauty falls to the ground at 40 mph. While one model looks appalled, the other laughs. The dog gets up and continues to run. At real race tracks, dogs who usually take bad falls like that break their legs, break their hocks, break their toes, pull their butt muscles, or are paralyzed. Laugh models laugh.

Ad people tend to see critics like this as humorless, but there’s a real point being made here. What’s worse, the spot doesn’t need the fabricated drama of a wipeout. The scene fails to advance the story, it’s merely drama for drama’s sake.

Absolut is a lifestyle sell, and this spot is all lifestyle, with nary a hint of product (from a company made famous by advertising its bottle). It’s an elaborate production and well done from that perspective. But what’s the underlying idea here? That drinking Greyhounds is bad ass?

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp.