By Published on .

It's the end of an era, the loss of an icon, the sad breakdown of civilization as we know it. OK, maybe not, but that upscale-yet-supremely-cool Mr. Jenkins just ended his five-year tenure as the (Martini) toast of the town.

But the spokesfigure for Tanqueray gin didn't go gently into the night. Au contraire, as he might say: Mr. Jenkins bade us adieu amid much imaginative fanfare, courtesy of Deutsch/New York, which recently lost the account to J. Walter Thompson. Explains Kathy Delaney, executive creative director at Deutsch: "He was an important character in the fabric of the culture. We wanted him to go gracefully as opposed to just yanking him away."

The first step was the outdoor wild posting and small-space ad, "Missing," with copy including the phone number 1-877-SEEKMRJ. Callers heard a message saying that no one could answer the phone because everyone was looking for Mr. Jenkins, and perhaps the caller should hang up and join the search.

Next came a faux news page in a few metropolitan dailies, filled with articles about Mr. J's mysterious disappearance. According to Craig Markus, group creative director, it allowed Deutsch "to have fun with Jenkins and to give a little insight into his background." It turns out, for instance, that world's most famous Tanqueray drinker, upon his birth in London, "spoke English, Italian, and Farsi."

A third and final newspaper ad, again mocked up as news coverage, calmed fan's fears with the joyful news that Mr. Jenkins had been found alive and well on a tropical island, where he was said to be stylishly imbibing lots of Tanqueray imported from the Old Country.

The Jenkins "Disappearance" campaign wasn't Deutsch's swan song for Tanqueray. The agency's final series of print ads for the 'distinctively crisp' gin shows a collection of U.K. icons, ranging from a bulldog to a Carnaby Street dandy, all flanked by the familiar green bottle.

Mr. Jenkins, that silver-haired hipster, would approve.

Most Popular
In this article: