Bootleg TV Spot Bombs, But No Serious Injuries Reported.

Vaughn Whelan & Partners Advertising Inc., a 12-person Toronto firm wanted to pitch the Molson and Coors account (the two brewers are merging), but they were not invited to the party. So, the agency came up with a guerilla approach. VW&P created a bootleg TV spot and paid to run it on Canadian television, and also in Vermont.
You have to admire the initiative here, but this move has some major problems in my book. If I’m the client and I’m spending millions of dollars to create a brand image and someone I don’t even know makes a spot for my product and runs it on TV, the spot better be brilliant. This spot is far from it. For one, it creates confusion in the marketplace. TV viewers who saw this spot when it ran had no idea whatsoever that it was a self-promo piece for the agency. The agency is never named, nor is their intent revealed. It’s simply a shoddy, low budget spot for Molson Canadian.
Misleading the beer drinking public to think, “Oh here’s a new, not very good, pitch from Molson” serves no one. The brewer loses. The public loses. And the agency loses.
Late Breaking Update: Vaughn Whelan



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.