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Kim Jong Chill?

Yes, North Korea is making its own beer and, apparently, beer commercials. Bottoms up.


What are some of the advertising messages that you can detect here?

  • Beer that’s made in a lab, not a brewery
  • Beer that makes you hallucinate
  • ‘‘Let them drink beer!” (Kim Jong il's take on "Let them eat cake!")
  • Drink beer from a champagne bottle
  • This beer is so bad we need to take 2 and a half minutes to convince you to buy it

Can you discern a clear marketing strategy?

It’s funny, although I don’t understand a single word in this commercial, I’m pretty sure of one thing — they’re trying to hypnotize you into buying this beer.

What does this ad, and its presentation, say about the typical North Korean beer consumer?

Judging by the music and the colorful display of magical special effects, their consumer is roughly the age of 8. Not sure what the legal drinking age in North Korea is but honestly, if I were an 8-year-old kid living in North Korea I would start drinking at a young age, too.

In your experience, and generally speaking, what works best in a beer commercial?

All the best beer commercials have humor. You can’t get too serious about selling beer. A simple message (emphasis on simple) that cuts through the clutter is memorable, honest, and relatable to your target. That’s really the best way to go about a beer commercial. Plus the 2.5 second beer pour. For example:

Source: Courtesy Y&R

In the U.S., what are some things you're legally prevented from showing or saying in a beer commercial?

  • You can't have someone physically drink the beer.
  • You can't show more than 2 bottles per person.
  • Actors cannot operate any kind of machinery including anyone driving or sailing, etc.
  • No children or cartoon-like imagery is allowed.
  • Low-cal beers cannot make any health claims. For example: Drink this and lose weight.

What's the typical process of making a beer commercial in the U.S.?

The strategy of the product is written in the form of a brief which is essentially a page of information about the product. It includes information from how your consumer behaves to the single-minded message that needs communicating. You basically come back with different creative ideas executing against the single-minded message of the strategy. You present to the client and they select a campaign or two that goes into testing. Once the focus groups come back with their feedback, the campaign is chosen and the search for directors begins.

Recent GlobalPost columns by Thomas Mucha:

Why we're (still) screwed

Fake news gets real

In China, this photo may be porn

Other GlobalPost stories about beer, booze and bars:

Is the English pub at death's door?

The whiskey diaries

Video: Play it again, Sam. And again, and again