Brand Mistake #771: Getting tied to a loose cannon

Chin Chin etc

Chin Chin etc

I get rubbed up the wrong way by dumb adverts. First I sort of blank them, but if the media stays there the rubbing continues as if a small sea urchin had been glued into my trainer. The current outdoor and apparently TV campaign for Gordon’s Gin is one such example. I think that before they tried some nonsense about their ‘Distiller’s Cut’ novelty gins and then maybe something about ice chess?

Now they are doing something so gauche and obvious I didn’t even notice the full extent until a mate pointed it out. I wondered why a loud, polarising but admittedly talented chef would associate himself with a gin of mediocre respectability. The sort of gin one cannot look too far down upon but yet can greet with no more enthusiasm than a rubbery cheese sandwich offered gratis at a sales conference. Did he not want to associate himself with excellence? Then it hit me. GORDON’S Gin. As in that’s why Gordon Ramsay was chosen.

This is about as clever as a toothache joke told at a Listerine factory.  He is a very polarising figure, which is risk number one.  Risk number two is he could be caught drink driving again or be involved in some other idiocy, or just instead continue to overexpose himself. Either way, it mingles the Gordon Ramsay brand with that of Gordon’s Gin which seems an expensive, foolish and ephemeral dilution.

My parents drank it when it had the nifty bottle with the boar thing on. I’ve drunk it myself in the Sixth Form when it was readily available and went tediously with squash. It’s aggressively OK.  Plymouth or Tanqueray are better choices. I used to like Bombay Sapphire until I realised that despite the lovely bottle it tasted more of air than gin.

A much better attempt at hijacking the sweary Mr. Ramsay’s brand is this wonderful viral/digital campaign for  It makes the point about people in the hospitality industry needing a passion for perfection with humour, is technically well done and is a real case study about how small brands can think/act big online.


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