Close reading: The most insufferable vodka ad ever produced

It’s called “La Pursuit,” for Grey Goose, and it first aired Tuesday night on AMC during the “The Night Manager.” It’s called “La Pursuit” because Grey Goose is all about “pursuing the remarkable”— even though “pursuing” Grey Goose couldn’t be easier seeing as every liquor store in America carries it.

When the voluntary hard liquor TV ban ended in 2012, brands immediately poured ads into open late night slots.

Unfortunately, most of the spots have been condescending bullshit, like this spot for New Amsterdam vodka by condescending bullshitters MUH•TAY•ZIK HOF•FER. (A rare winning exception was this emotional [but unauthorized] “Dear Brother” video for Johnnie Walker made by two German film students.)

But, ho-boy, does this Grey Goose spot “fly beyond” all previous pretentiousness. Watch the spot. Comments have been disabled and “dislikes” are gaining rapidly on the probably mostly seeded “likes.”

Grey Goose: “La Pursuit”

The spot starts with a woman in do-me pumps using some sort of stick to let the others know the other car is coming. Why would do she that instead of maybe just verbally telling them? But then her face tells you exactly why. It is a face that silently whispers sexily to every man: “I hate you, don’t talk to me.”

“I hate your car, I hate your beards, I hate everything.”

The men look annoyed by the stick thing. They are both tough feminists, of course: long hair is a feminist-longshoreman (he doesn’t need the job, he does it for “fun”); short hair is a feminist-mountain-climbing lawyer.


The feminist longshoreman spots a bird. That’s not a bird, handsome; that’s “branding” insisted on by the nervous client:


Then they board a blimp. Sure, why not? But a French blimp? Yeah no, leave me a bottle and some cheeses, and I’ll guard the expensive cars for you guys. The almost certainly drunk French helmsman doesn’t inspire confidence, either.


“La Pursuit” is underway.

They make a couple stops, picking up an old film reel and projector, a lighthouse light, and a chunk of ice from the top of an Alp, I guess? In the left photo, we see a drummer. He and what appears to be a theremin player (that’s rich) are the only musicians on the flight deck. Yet we hear fully instrumental music. Will the drummer later maybe play a stripped down version of John Bonham’s epic solo from “Moby Dick”? That would have been cool.


That light is much too big for the projector. No matter logic at this point, I’m impatiently waiting for a squadron of Messerschmitt 109s to happen upon these insufferably wealthy poseurs and blast them out of the French sky. Even the beautiful black man. Choose your friends more wisely in your next life, bro.

The vintage movie starts playing … on clouds. How is that supposed to work? Last time I checked (15 seconds ago), blimps can’t really hover, so it’s gonna like watching a movie on a TV set with a broken horizontal hold. Plus the fucking goose keeps getting in the way (client again). At least everybody is tipsy on Le Grand Fizzes, the cocktail this spot is supposed to be promoting.

douche and goose

It’s here I’d like to point out the most annoying character (L)—the dyed blonde hedge funder/trust funder. If the ME-109s could specifically take him out …

This is the first spot produced by BBDO NYC, which won worldwide creative duties for Grey Goose’s parent Bacardi last year. And it’s a signature BBDO NYC spot: overproduced hooey.

David Lubars, creative boss at BBDO NYC, said this about the ad:

“’Fly Beyond’ is a timeless platform. Our job was to make it relevant for what’s happening today. In the end, you want people looking at every part of the campaign thinking ‘I want to be part of that’.” You failed, David.

Mauricio Vergara, North American CMO of Bacardi said, Millennials are “not about acquiring products but about acquiring experiences.”

Recreational blimp businesses are happy to hear that, I’m sure. But Grey Goose sure wasn’t a key ingredient in this “experience.” Pepto-Bismol will be a bit later.

In conclusion: Sorry, Bacardi. But your money would have been better spent flying a branded goose-shaped blimp over all three summer outdoor major tennis tournaments.

Image courtesy of gmstockstudio /

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