Who the hell are you, and how did you get into this party?
I've always kinda been intrigued by liquor advertising, because in a lot of ways it's one of those things that doesn't really need publicity -- so whenever you do see an ad for something like this a lot of times what you're really getting is a glimpse into what the company who makes the stuff thinks their target audience actually is.

Maybe it's because I don't run in high society circles (go figure) but I'm finding myself kinda at a loss for just who this Tony Sinclair character is supposed to appeal to? I mean, on the surface he's kinda like every comedy-relief liaison character that James Bond would contact in whatever city his current case was in -- who would give him information on how to find the evil mastermind, but then be killed somewhere along the way to illustrate just how heartless the bad guy was?

Then there's always that scene where Bond gets a package in the mail, and it's always some disembodied limb or whatever to prove that he's dead, along with a handwritten note that reads:
"Guess he wasn't ready to Tanqueray"
But then you see these commercials where he's kinda hanging around some hoidy toidy party (or riding on a cruise ship to get ice cubes from the Antarctic or whatever) and the only association I ever get is the guy that no one seems to remember inviting, who eats all the food and insists on talking to everybody about how unimpressive this party is when compared to other events he's been at around the world.

And I'm sure someones gonna tell me that I'm not really the target audience for any of this, and I should just ignore it -- but the simple fact is that they play these ads during preseason football games and stuff like that, which I'm definitely the intended audience for.

Clearly whoever is pushing Tanqueray's marketing strategy wants their product to be more visible to potential customers -- but I guess what I'm having trouble with is the way that I'm supposed to connect to that message. Because it's not like the guy is telling slapstick jokes (like the Red Stripe Hooray Beer guy) or claiming that drinking gin will immediately make you irresistible to the opposite sex, he's just leaning over to you like you've known him all his life (or always wanted to get in his better graces) and explaining why they're using a jeweler to cut the ice cubes for each cocktail.

I guess the big thing they're selling here is the association between Tanqueray Gin and high-class parties. The kind of social mixers where connections are made, deals are sealed with handshakes, and everyone wears a suit. You see these kinds of soiree's in the movies all the time used as backdrops for the hero to meet the love interest -- but the parties themselves are always painted as some sort of business thing, something connected to work.

I don't know where you guys are at, but it's not like people come up to my desk and say
"Are you coming to Lawson's party this weekend? I heard all the major players in the new product release are gonna be there -- so unless you want someone else to get stuck with all the paperwork once R/D finishes their work, you'd better make sure to show up early and mingle."
But seriously, even if you do go to big Hollywood parties or rub elbows with the power players in some Manhattan high-rise -- where exactly does this guy fit in? The foppish attitude, the cloying accent, the hotties hanging on his shoulders.. The fact that even though he continually babbles on about some brand of gin you still really seem to want to hear what he says?
Oh wait, I get it.
He's the coke dealer.
Well, that's different -- isn't it? Now it all makes sense. Now I know what was happening during the conversation that happens right before the scene we see in the commercial. Some Gordon Gecko sleazeball in a Brooks Brothers suit leaning over saying things like "So, do I uh.. Pay you here, or is there somewhere we go, or what..?" and then Tanquerary guy is all like "Just a tic, mate. Did you see the way that Tanuqueray slides into the glass? I'm telling you, it's just like poetry."
"Yeah yeah, poetry, beauty, whatever -- c'mon man, I'm hurtin' bad"
It all kinda goes back into this thought I continually have where I really wish I had a lot of money, but at the same time I'm really glad I'm not in a place in my life where I have to hang out with really, really rich people. Because if this is the normal makeup of the people that you need to be seen schmoozing with, I'm gonna be in trouble.

Of course that could be the whole angle behind the advertisements too. A bunch of executives sitting around some conference table at the Tanqeray home office, saying things like, "It's possible that poor people like Dan are starting to consider buying our product" -- which results in a visible wave of panic and worry among the board members, until after a swell of dramatic music the camera shifts quickly over to Tony Sinclair, who takes off his designer sunglasses and says,
"Don't worry -- I'll handle that situation."
[Listening to:    Prime STH"In My Head" ]