Southern Comfort has a few ads out right now starring the "Lingo Cops," done in that 70′s cop show style. In it, the Cops are "investigating" what it means when people say, "SoCoLa" in bars, and trying to put an end to it, because hey, "You can't just go around making up words." Well, that's exactly what Southern Comfort hopes you do after watching these ads, inviting viewers to log into their Facebook page and firing out their best invented words for "Southern Comfort and Cola." The campaign hopes to work the psychological connections of "bar calls," when patrons call out liquor by its brand name.
Southern Comfort's Crowdsourced Lingo Cops Campaign
Southern Comfort enlisted the services of Poptent, a crowd-source video solutions company, in coming up with their new approach. Brown-Forman, SoCo's parent company, took their longtime creative agency Arnold Worldwide off that account, but continues to stick with them on their other big drink, Jack Daniel's. That must be kind of awkward. But through Poptent, Southern Comfort ended up using RezFX, a small production company in Indiana. And here's what they came up with. The first two are online-only and the third is on TV and online.
As you can see, all three episodes have the same exchange in them. The Lingo Cops demand answers about this "SoCoLa," and the bartender helpfully explains it to them, and the Lingo Cops are disgusted that new words are being created. Each episode has a little different content in them to distinguish from each other, but all of them have the same purpose: try to get people talking on Facebook about it, and then hopefully infect bars and liquor stores with the psychology of "bar calls."
Bar call psychology works like this: if a patron asks for a certain liquor by name, other people overhear it, and those other people will want to buy it because they see someone else ordering it. A good name sticks, and on the Facebook page people have come up with several good ones (I like Soca Cola or Sococo). This isn't a contest, this is merely a discussion, and Southern Comfort wins no matter what sticks.
The commercial just started its five week television run on major cable channels like ESPN and some late-night programs on ABC and NBC. There will be a fourth commercial advertising the new Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry soon.
You can also learn something from Poptent's "win" in all this. The article mentions Jason Kempf, who is Southern Comfort's brand director (from the New York Times article):
Mr. Kempf and other executives were familiar with Poptent because Brown-Forman had worked with Poptent previously on a project on responsible drinking for another of its products, Jack Daniel’s, he said. Although the project never came to fruition, he added, the experience was positive enough to keep Poptent in the executives’ consideration set.
It seems I always hear something like this. Where two entities are trying to work with each other, it doesn't quite work out, but the powers-that-be remember how good the experience was and want to hire those people later. It goes to show it pays to have class and take disappointment in stride, and there may be something down the road when circumstances are better. At the very least, professionalism can earn you a good reputation throughout the industry.
Southern Comfort's ads are yet another example of content that gets people talking about the brand in a natural way, that isn't disruptive, and actually makes people want to get involved.