The 6 Best Alcohol Ads of All Time

These are some of our favorite liquor and beer advertisements from the last forty years — each one an innovative master of their medium.

1. A Classic For a Reason – Absolut Vodka

In 1980, the advertising agency TBWA made an ad for Swedish vodka brand Absolut featuring the product with a halo and the description “Absolut Perfection.”

The ad was an instant hit and spawned one of the most iconic ad campaigns of the subsequent three decades — more than 1500 designs all including the Absolut bottle in a variety of unique displays. Iconic, creative, and consistent.

2. An Artistic Masterpiece – Johnnie Walker 2013 Mid Autumn Festival Campaign – Chinese Market

Johnnie Walker’s “Keep Walking” campaign launched in 1999 and has been used to promote the brand’s Scotch whiskey around the globe. The campaign’s iconic striding man symbolizes moving forward with determination, and this campaign brings him into a Chinese folktale about a giant immortal tree that grows on the moon. The man climbs the tree. He realizes it is infinite and taller than the universe itself. The fruit tastes like Jonnie Walker Black and the man knows his journey will never end, just like the tree.

The campaign was designed by Shotopop and features 3D painted and printed figures that were then photographed. They created more than just an advertising campaign, these assets are works of art.

3. An Irreverent Take on “History” – Aviation Gin – The Process

In the 2020s, actor Ryan Reynolds became an owner at Aviation Gin and put his unique, funny spin (and face) all over the brand’s marketing.

This video is a fake yet hilarious send-up of a few well-known brands with lots of history behind them – sharing the “story”  behind the magic of this newly iconic spirits brand while still managing to sneak in some honest-to-god information (watch the part where the juniper berries get beaten into oblivion).

4. Tie-ins perfected to a T – Tanqueray Gin and Bridgerton

Tanqueray Gin partnered with the Netflix period drama “Bridgerton” to put a modern twist on classic tea time, launching a series of videos to coincide with the series’ second season with the “Make it T-Time” social media campaign.

“Bridgerton” actor Jonathan Bailey and comedian Phoebe Robinson teach musician Joe Jonas (who the internet has declared looks like part of the Bridgerton family) “how to be a Bridgerton.” of course while they all drink Tanqueray cocktails.

Designed to capitalize on the buzzy show and optimized for social media engagement, they gave fans the chance to win Bridgerton-inspired experiences by posting content of themselves drinking, dancing, or dressing for “T-Time.” Let’s raise a glass to that sweet user-generated content.

5. The best to sit and drink with friends – Harbin Sit-Pack Campaign

Throughout much of the world, the 2022 FIFA World Cup meant gathering with friends for house parties. For a lot of people, especially in China, this means lots of people in a tiny apartment with very few seating options.

Introducing The Harbin Sit-Pack, a special beer multi-pack that transforms into a bench, accommodating up to 8 people, including 10 Big Cans of Harbin Beer with exclusive FIFA designs.

The campaign exploded and had immediate tangible impact. The Sit-Packs were sold out within one minute during a special live stream event and the brand’s ratings that “it’s for young people,” a “brand to share with friends,” and “innovative” grew significantly.  Sales also increased outside of the activation. This impactful campaign was developed by ad agency BBDO.

6. A Spooktacular reason to come back out to the bars – Guinness Korea Halloween

Ok, so this one’s one of ours, but it’s truly my favorite things we’ve ever partnered on. In Fall of 2020, when bars were open again in Korea after the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Guinness wanted to remind people of the special experience of visiting a bar. The goals were to boost engagement and give the customers the stage with custom, personalized pints.

Customers scanned the QR code, uploaded their picture, and were able to transform their special Guinness drink selfies, or “Stouties” into Count Dracula,  werewolves, or other creatures of the night, giving bars a specific way to remind customers of the fun of coming back out with an experience you can’t have at home.

Here at Ripples, we always have our eye out for innovation and creativity, particularly when they work together in ways that enhance a brand’s message and are designed specifically for their medium of choice – whether that’s a magazine ad or YouTube or the top of a pint. Do you agree with our picks for the best liquor and beer campaigns of the past 40 years?