Jose Cuervo Says 'Tomorrow Is Overrated' in Brand Campaign Out of CP&B

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Screw the future.

That's the premise of Jose Cuervo's new brand campaign out of Crispin Porter & Bogusky Los Angeles, its first after reteaming with the agency last year. On Sunday, the tequila giant debuted a blockbuster ad directed by Rattling Stick's Ringan Ledwidge showing the patrons of a local bar awaiting the end of days: a tornado blusters through the town, carrying papers and people with it, while a newscaster announces that civilization's demise is nigh.

As the rest of the world runs for their lives, the bar-goers make the most of theirs. The bartender pours shots of Cuervo, a man plays Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" on the jukebox and couples tango while destruction around them ensues. The neon logo and tagline read : "Cuervo -- Tomorrow Is Overrated."

Cuervo had previously worked with CP&B from 2009-2011 when it was distributed in the U.S. by Diageo. After the account moved to Proximo Spirits in 2013, McCann New York picked it up, and then resigned it in late 2015. The 222-year-old tequila launched a successful IPO last month, raising more than $900 million. It's a ripe time for Cuervo to reassert itself as category leader, especially when messaging of competitors has increasingly seen a trend of "blandification," said Daniel Mandelbaum, group brand director at Jose Cuervo.

"We noticed that the tequila category has fallen victim to uniformity with brands trying to pursue premiumness," he said, with many "trying to behave like vodkas, with beautiful shots and images of people drinking cocktails. We wanted to challenge that trend and recapture tequila's intensity, remind people that tequila's anything but bland."

From that brief, the team at Crispin came up with the "Tomorrow Is Overrated" tagline. "That came out of the idea that when the Cuervo comes out, you are really starting something," said CP&B Los Angeles Chief Creative Officer Kevin Jones. "It's a bit of a commitment to having fun, so we thought through the notion of what is your reason for not busting out the Cuervo, if it's what awaits you tomorrow -- sitting in a cubicle, doing laundry -- then 'tomorrow' might not be a great excuse for putting off tonight."

Those ideas also come to life in pre-roll ads directed by Biscuit's Ayse Altinok that juxtapose starkly different situations: a conference call and a concert; a photocopier and rollerskating; minimart coffee and a midnight dip in the pool. While these films apply the tagline to everyday situations, the anthem film is unabashedly Armageddon, which could potentially be risky for a marketer.

"When we first saw that idea our eyes went wide open," said Mr. Mandelbaum. "At the end of the day, tequila is celebratory, so we didn't want it to come across as a sad situation. There's some drama, but we wanted it to end on a high note."

The choice of director was key. Mr. Ledwidge is an A-Lister known for sophisticated but fun ambitious productions such as Nike's movie-like "The Switch" and The Guardian's much-decorated "Three Little Pigs" spot. The ad was shot in a ghost-town-like studio in the desert outside of Los Angeles with effects created out of Electric Theater Collective.

While the "end of days" idea seems to come when the real world itself feels on shaky ground, such dovetailing wasn't intentional, said Mr. Jones. "The campaign naturally lines up with things feeling a little bit chaotic. But it's a pretty pure concept about living in the moment, and we just wanted to find the most interesting way to get that across while having it feel true to Cuervo."

Overall, "this is a new direction for the brand," said Mr. Mandelbaum. "We want it to go into every communication, every channel. The 'Tomorrow Is Overrated' tagline can also be "adjusted to executions that speak to every different price point and product."

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