Corona/C-K “Cast Away” first effort from new ECD

ECD Derek Green

The debate goes on.  At least in our mind.

Was it the right thing to do for Corona Extra beer, its Chicago-based importer and distributor Crown Imports and ad agency of record Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago, to go and change the look and feel of the beach-themed advertising that had become — at least in our mind — as close to classic as one could get in the beer advertising universe?

The change began to happen a while ago.

And it gathered new force this week with the debut of the TV spot called “Cast Away,” the first of what apparently will be more new advertising for Corona Extra this spring — all aimed at ensuring the brew remains the No. 1 import in the country.

If any doubt lingered in anyone’s mind that Cramer-Krasselt and Crown were hell bent on getting away from those oh-so-understated, beach-oriented TV spots that were the hallmark of Corona Extra advertising for so long, “Cast Away” washes away those doubts once and forever.

Let’s be clear.

“Cast Away” isn’t a bad spot, per se.  It’s just different.  And from our perspective the difference, in large part, has to do with the fact that this execution, while interesting, doesn’t feel quite so distinctive and special as many of the most memorable beach-themed spots for Corona. 


In new spot, Corona a reward after trying day

This “Cast Away” also marks the first major effort for Corona under the direction of C-K/Chicago’s executive creative director Derek Green, who arrived at the shop last summer.

The “Cast Away” spot clearly indicates Green has a good sense of how to maintain visual interest and pacing in a commercial. It’s just that we couldn’t help but begin to miss that glorious beach setting as the new 30-second “Cast Away” was unfolding before us.

As the spot opens, there’s no sign of a grain of sand or sun-dappled ocean anywhere in sight. Instead, a casually-dressed young gentleman is ambling down a sidewalk. 

Scene from Corona Extra “Castaway” spotAs he goes along, he suddenly and unexpectedly encounters an array of people who, it quickly becomes clear, represent the many and varied hassles he must contend with on any given day.  Hassles such as car repairs, unending phone calls and a friend who wants him to attend a performance of an Irish clog dancing troupe.

Having been assaulted from all sides, the guy finally arrives at a bar, where a friend quickly hands him a Corona Extra.  And we can safely assume our protagonist has at last reached a state of nirvana — or at least something as close to it as he’s going to get, given his situation.


“Cast Away” missing the alluring beach

But it’s the tagline that appears on screen at the end that provides the final punctuation for the commercial.  And it reminded us of what we missed in this “Cast Away,” which as we said is a quite satisfactory slice-of-life drama with some neat visual twists.

That “Find Your Beach” tagline made us long for some glimpse of that exquisite and alluring beach in “Cast Away.”  But there isn’t any.

We can’t say how heated the debate among all concerned may have been before the final decision was made to move away from the beach-oriented advertising and broaden the conceptual approach to Corona Extra advertising.

But from the comments that have filtered out since the change began, it’s clear that a lot of marketing principals connected to Corona believed they could expand the brew’s appeal with a new approach that suggests one’s beach is anywhere one finds it.

As Crown Imports Chief Marketing Officer Jim Sabia said in a statement this week: “The ‘Find Your Beach’ campaign continues to resonate with people, attracting new fans and connecting with old.”

That is all fine and well.


Corona could look like all other beer spots

But, in our mind, we keep asking, what was it about the old beach-focused advertising that would have kept new fans from connecting with Corona Extra? Were too many people in this modern culture that must be fed something new every few seconds simply growing bored with the beach?


But we suspect that before very much more time has elapsed, a lot of people are going to start to get bored with this new stuff, and long to return to that ever-so-tranquil beach setting. 

Granted this new approach surely will make it easier for Cramer-Krasselt creatives who won’t have to work quite so hard to come up with something fresh now that the beach is anywhere one finds it. 

But we worry that, if all concerned are not careful, Corona advertising will begin to look and feel a lot like a lot of other beer advertising out there at the moment — a lot of which is instantly forgettable.

Still, as we’ve seen in recent creative efforts for several well-known brands, ad agencies tend these days to come back to what was iconic and memorable.  That beach advertising for Corona Extra was definitely iconic.  And definitely memorable.

We suspect Corona will eventually find its way back there.  And — to be sure — it will be a cause for rejoicing.  


Agency credits: ECD, Derek Green; GCD/art director, Jimmy Olson; 

GCD/copywriter, Derek Sherman; producer, Scott McBurnie, group account director, Renee Chez; senior account executive, Kaya Much, account executive, Katie Fellows.
Production:  Park Pictures, New York. Director, 
Guy Manwaring; EP, Dinah Rodriguez; line producer, Amy Appleton. DP, Marc Gomez de Moral.
Postproduction: Editorial, WhiteHouse Post. EP, Dan Bryant; 
Producer, Laurie Adrianopoli; editor, John Smith.  Telecine: The Mill, EP, Jared Yeater; producer, Adrienne Winterhalter; colorist, Fergus McCall.  Music, Nylon Studios, New York. 



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