When it comes to whisky advertising, the most common themes tend to be history, a nod to the homeland, or a high five to some definition of manhood. But this new spot by South African agency King James and director Greg Grey eschew all of these in favor of…literacy.
Well, sort of. The ad trails an older gentleman on his journey towards learning to read in English, celebrating his inspiration and commitment to a cause. It’s the latest in a years-long “Give that man a Bell’s” campaign. Agency creative director Alistair King says the ad is fictional but inspired by South African musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, who returned to secondary school at the age of 60. “South Africa is a complex country with a past that has denied many people a proper education and the chance to live up to their full potential,” says King. “There are many people like that who just refuse to let their past define their future, and that is a great message for all.”