Cuervo Gets Groovy in New Rolling Stones Ad

Retro Approach Reimagines 1972 Tour Plane, 'The Lapping Tongue'

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As most liquor brands fall all over themselves to reach millennials, Jose Cuervo has released a new retro Rolling Stones-themed ad that seems just as likely to catch the eye of baby boomers.

The ad, which debuts today, harkens back to the band's 1972 tour. According to Cuervo, the tour was so legendary it spawned the phrase, "party like a rock star." The tour later became known as the "The Tequila Sunrise Tour" -- a reference to a Cuervo cocktail the brand says was poured at a private party in San Francisco before the tour began, according to Cuervo agency McCann, which created the ad.

The ad reimagines the Stones' tour plane, called The Lapping Tongue, which was "well known for tales of debauchery and controversy" and carried a "rotating entourage of celebrities, roadies, groupies and hanger-ons" and of course, plenty of Cuervo, according to McCann.

None of the band members appear in the ad. And the song it uses, "Miss You," wasn't released until 1978 -- six years after the 1972 tour that the ad features. Asked about that timing, a McCann spokeswoman said: "There are so many iconic Rolling Stones songs that came out of the 70s. 'Miss You,' in particular, really captures the feel of that decade so we thought it was a perfect pick."

Why make the Rolling Stones reference now? The McCann spokeswoman said in an email that the ad was created after Cuervo did some research in 2014 that unearthed the connection between the Stones '72 tour and Cuervo. Asked about the ad's target, the spokeswoman said "the Cuervo audience is still millennials," adding that "this group craves stories that they, in turn, can turn into social currency for when they are out with friends." She said the Stones/Cuervo story "provides exactly what our target is hungry for. The rock 'n' roll lifestyle is still the goal."

Cuervo's U.S. distribution is handled by Proximo Spirits, which took over from Diageo in 2013. The brand is the largest tequila in the U.S. with sales of nearly $114 million and market share of about 31%, according to IRI, which does not include on-premise sales, which include bars. Sales increased by 5% in the 52 weeks ending July 12.

Cuervo had been running a campaign called "Have a Story" starring Kiefer Sutherland, although the most recent TV spot has not aired since early August, according to iSpot.

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