Ten of the best celebrity-fronted spirits campaigns
Featuring a celebrity in a spirits brand campaign? It’s a fail-safe way to draw attention to your product. From sporting legends to Hollywood actors, we’ve rounded up some of the top star-studded partnerships from recent years.
Spirits brands are known to test out a variety of different tactics to boost their profiles, but having a celebrity lend their star power to an advert might just be the most effective method.
Whether that be Keanu Reeves drinking Suntory in a bar or Aubrey Plaza instructing people how to make a Margarita by the pool, A-list appearances get people talking.
Keep reading for our pick of the top 10 celebrity appearances in spirits campaigns.
In addition, Hollywood’s heavy hitters investing in or owning spirits brands is no novel idea, with their involvement becoming increasingly common – recently we also looked into what makes a successful celebrity-backed spirit.
Daniel Craig, Belvedere
Daniel Craig’s appearance in a Belvedere campaign last year was far removed from the secret service agent’s antics we’ve been used to from his days of playing James Bond.
Rather than have him order a Martini, as 007 so often did, Academy Award-winning director Taika Waititi decided to display the actor’s ‘fun’ side – with the intention of portraying what life might look like when the cameras aren’t rolling – as Craig ditched the suit and crowds to ‘playfully sashay’ his way through the streets of Paris all the way up to the vodka brand’s bar in the luxurious Cheval Blanc hotel.
From there, just as he began to enjoy his Belvedere on the rocks, Waititi ordered a reshoot, advising Craig to “just be yourself”.
Aubrey Plaza, Rémy Cointreau
Aubrey Plaza brought her signature brand of deadpan humour to Rémy Cointreau’s ‘biggest campaign’ to date this summer, which saw the actor sassily encourage pool siders to enjoy a Margarita ”The MargaRight way”.
What is the ‘MargaRight’ way? Well, the cocktail must be made with three ingredients: Cointreau, Tequila and fresh lime juice – otherwise, in the eyes of the White Lotus and Parks and Recreation star, ”it’s just MargaWrong’’.
“This summer, you’ll only catch me ordering Margaritas MargaRight, and Cointreau will always be at any party of mine,” she declared.
Nick Offerman, Lagavulin
Nick Offerman, out in the woods spending some quality time with his father or defying death to eat seared ribeye steak – Lagavulin certainly knows how to promote a whisky.
The now nine-year-long link-up between the veteran actor and the Islay distillery, includes multiple ad campaigns of Offerman engaging in activities suited for drinking the whisky, while also producing a limited edition 11-year-old Scotch and another 11-year-old finished in Guinness casks.
And it’s not just Offerman who’s an avid fan. The character the actor plays in Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson, is also known to be partial to a glass of Lagavulin.
Gwendoline Christie, Highland Park
Having made a name for herself in huge franchises such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars, Gwendoline Christie temporarily pivoted from Hollywood to spirits when she fronted a short film for Highland Park’s 225th anniversary campaign.
The Orkney distillery’s campaign transports Christie onto the Scottish island where she learns about Highland Park’s heritage, discovers historical landmarks and takes a tour of Hobbister moor – hills of heather moorland that infuse the peat below with a floral character.
Of the collaboration, Christie said: “Orkney has a stunning landscape, which I’ve been able to explore first-hand to see how the environment and communities influence the heritage, flavour and spirit of Highland Park whisky.’’
Stanley Tucci, Tanqueray
Chosen for his ‘quiet sophistication’ and ‘natural charm’, Stanley Tucci was seen as the ideal fit for Tanqueray No Ten’s ‘Make it a Martini’ ad campaign.
Tucci, a vocal Martini enthusiast himself, was clearly up for the task, saying: “I’m a big fan of the Martini – there is something about a Martini’s simplicity and classic elegance, while being modern at the same time”.
The spot sees the actor order a Tanqueray No Ten Martini at a bar, with patrons in the background overhearing the exchange and swiftly following suit. ”If Stanley and Tanqueray No Ten have one thing in common, it’s that they are both undeniably classic and chic,” said Christina Choi, senior vice-president of gin, Tequila and breakout growth brands at Diageo North America.
Aisling Bea, Jameson
Actor, comedian and now spirits ambassador, Aisling Bea added that third string to her bow when she became the face of a Jameson Irish whiskey campaign.
The This Way Up star co-wrote the Irish whiskey’s responsible drinking campaign at the beginning of the year, which encourages moderation and mindful drinking by depicting several drinking situations that people commonly find themselves in, each highlighting the social pressures that lead to overconsumption.
“I truly believe that [Jameson], as a drinks company, wants to be part of the evolution of how we drink and how we savour not just their product, but also life,” she said.
To learn more about her fondness for Jameson and whiskey as a whole, we travelled to Ireland to chat to Bea at the brand’s Middleton Distillery.
Keanu Reeves, Suntory
Three decades since he last partnered with Suntory on a campaign, Keanu Reeves was at it again in May, appearing in an advert that marked the whisky producer’s 100th anniversary.
Directed by filmmaker Sofia Copolla, who was behind Lost in Translation which also featured Suntory prominently, the advert shows Reeves slinking into a lively Japanese bar, hidden down an alleyway, where he’s shown swapping stories with friends over glasses of the spirit. To us, a thoroughly accurate depiction of what the John Wick actor might get up to in his spare time.
Of the collaboration, Reeves said: “I’m a huge fan of Suntory Whisky, so it’s very special to collaborate in honour of this milestone anniversary.”
Sergio Pérez, Patrón
Sergio Pérez and Patrón both strive to hit pole position in their respective fields, so a partnership between the two made perfect sense.
The F1 driver played a starring role in the Tequila producer’s short film that celebrates their shared Mexican roots. The one-minute spot, soundtracked to Pérez’s voiceover, gives a first-person view with the driver behind the wheel racing from Jalisco to his home in Guadalajara, all while speaking of his immense pride for his heritage.
Of his decision to back the brand, Pérez said: ”Patrón shares my relentless desire to innovate in my sport and pride for our country – I have much respect for the tremendous lengths the Patrón familia goes to achieve simply perfect Tequila.”
He spoke more of his interest in Patrón in an interview with The Spirits Business here.
Simone Ashley, Johnnie Walker
Another to enter the spirits ad game was Simone Ashley, whose name you might recognise from smash hit Netflix shows Bridgerton and Sex Education.
The actress was front and centre of a short film for Johnnie Walker’s Bold Steps campaign, which aimed to confront age-old whisky stereotypes and support Diet Paratha’s Family Tree Mentoring – a programme for British South Asians trying to break into or advance in creative industries.
Ashley said the campaign drew her in as she ”knows the power of seeing others who look like me at the table and in the room”.
Shane Lowry, Jameson
Also representing Jameson on this list, professional golfer Shane Lowry gave his seal of approval to the whiskey when he signed on as global brand ambassador for three years.
He spoke of his delight for the chance to collaborate: “I feel like myself and Jameson go hand in hand. Golf is a very global sport, I play all over the world, and everywhere you go you see the brand. They’re successful and ambitious and they’re Irish – and that’s also how I would describe myself, so it’s a good fit.”
There’s no denying he doesn’t have the drive for it.