Let’s have a look at a selection of 10 brandy, whisky and cognac commercials. But what do they actually show? What can we discover in each film, what’s the message and how cheesy are some of these ads?

We’ll start with this Mariacron commercial.

Mariacron Weinbrand

What does this little film present? Flying birds, the red sun in the evening… a lonely piano playing: “When the day finds its peace”… a turning Mariacron label… “Weinbrand Mariacron”… moving liquid, a golden sea of brandy, the brandy in the glass, again the label… and again “Weinbrand Mariacron”… the sun disappears behind the dark clouds, the day is over, fades over to a 60 year old man with white hair, having a nice sip of the brandy… enjoying it. Smiling. End. Wow.

Feels really so outdated, but a classic. They really, really should have thought about the ending once more. How the gentleman freezes in the end, with his life-ending last sip… no. If you show this today it could probably work again, it’s that oldschool.


A blue tone-business world, a man entering a corporate building, people talking, writing, nervous chatting, telephone ringing, a computer screen with someone clicking on “exit”, next cut, a person leaving the building, walking the stairs – while a fast paced rythm begins, directly resolving to a very relaxed music. The picture color filter changes to bright yellow, golden almost.

A subtitle appears: “My father taught me so many things”. Fishing equipment. “About people” A piano begins to play. Forest, a river, birds are singing. A young man walking through the woods, “About places”, a finger touching fishing equipment, “About life”. We pull up and see two men standing at the riverside and do fly fishing… the fishing lanes fly through the air.

“But the most important thing… he taught…” the music goes on, harmony, fishing … “was about time”. An old bridge appears.

Then, a drop falls into golden brandy, and the Hennessy label appears, turning. A relaxed trumpet comes in. “Time is to precious to waste”. A glass with cognac is taken away, revealing the bottle of Hennessy in the background.

Three laughing, attractive young men, they are happy. “And too precious not too share”, the Hennessy swirls in the glass, and finally fades over to a landscape with a golden evening sky, clouds are moving, showing time… revealing a half dark glass at the bottom, with the slogan:

“Life is good.” … and a trumpet plays a higher tone, revealing “Hennessy”.

Okay we got the message: Don’t bloody waste your time working! Get drunk and hunt. Like a man. In nature.

Cognac Tsar Alexander

Okay and here is the next one. Starts rather abstract: A man in a suite comes out of the dark, steps out of a yellow, electric ray of light. Carrying something, a box. Piano music, of course. The man hands the box over through another yellow ray-window to a chauffeur or hotelier, again passing it to a new person.. this time we see that it’s a box, with a picture of a man on a horse.

Cut to dark, beautiful eyes of a woman. She must have seen that, interests her directly. The third man goes on with the box, yellow light and forms develope in the black background, the woman slightly smiles, observing… the man approaches a rather uninterested man, looking like Mozart only in fat… who looks at the content of the box which is about th be openend by the third man: More yellow light spreads from the box, the music gets a bit more dramatic.

If this wasn’t a brandy ad, one would probably expect some holy grale, ring or some magic powder or so… but it is a bottle of Cognac! The Mozart guy looks at it, turns around quickly, walks into a direction, again this yellow stuff appears around him, like notes of honey or whatever… when again, a man in the dark turns around, the music gets louder.. this fellow seems to come from the same time, perhaps a Napoleon in poor? Mozart passes over to Napoleon, who then finally opens the bottle… and the yellow forms, lines, flowers however you want to call it.. the spirit?.. shoots into the dark.

Next cut, another person with glass in his hand, the bottle pours some Cognac… revealing a general or elder military guy, watching the camera, and the other previous men appear in the background like the Musketeers…

“Cognac Tsar Alexander – enjoy the royal prestige”

And again the product pack shot, the piano song is over, some wind in the end. Finished. What?
The message is really, “yes, be a totally privileged person and let the Cognac be handed over a thousand times by plenty of employees, that serve you, to finally hold it in your hand, feeling like the Tsar?” This is hysterical.

Johnny Walker Black Label

A dark space. Violine music. A dark present with (interesting to compare to the previous Tsar Alexander commercial, see above) a yellow bow, that gets moved away, revealing.. a bottle of Black Johnny Walker in the dark.. rising, flying in space, turning by 90°, pouring golden whiskey…

… the golden spirit hits the ground, the music gets more pop-driven, a rather funky beat starts, close up to some ice cubes, we see the bottle, now also the “12” which stands for twelve year old whiskey.

Two glasses get chin-chined, just without the glass itself, only the spirit and the ice cubes. A female vocal singer begins, the whiskey fades to black, and

“Always Appreciated”… and the music gets really soul-driven! Revealing the pack shot in the end: Johnny Walker Black Label, For Tunnais. We see the litle “walking man”, the logo and symbol of the whiskey brand.

Hmm.. somehow nice but a bit boring. What is it with this transparent-or-non-existing-glass-thing? That the spirit is so pure, one should forget about the glass?

And another Johnny Walker

And one more with that transparent idea. First person perspective, percussion playing in the background. A transparent person, drinking a glass of Johnny Walker in the back of a car. He gets out of the car, the chauffeur opens the door, talks to him, closes the door of the car again. But hey! The chauffeur has no body, only his clothes are visible. Nice silver vintage car?

The person walks on the street, a car with four young guys passes, listening to hiphop – same: no human being is visible only the clothes. Means: All of the people are invisible.

Music, a man singing: “Don’t judge me by the clothes I wear”, a young guy walks over the street, people watching, people sitting on the street, bouncing their heads to the music. Some prostitutes are standing at the side, blowing pink chewing gum. A biker girl walks in front of us, motorcycles riding, a reggae gitar player sits at an entry of a club – the music changes to reggae-style, two girls pass, one of the girls watching our protagonist. People walk by, finally a sign says “Red Room – Johnny Walker”

“If you get to know me”.. we hear from the song. The man enters the club, the “Red Room”, of course everything is kept in red, rather chic… revealing the walking man, the logo of the whisky company – a ray of light – pack shot.

“Keep Walking” – “Johnny Walker”

Gran Matador Brandy

Fantastic ad! I can’t believe it.

The family father sits together with family and friends at a table, white suits, healthy colorful food on the table – the fat chef stands next to the godfather, with a snifter in his hand. The man with the mustache takes the bottle of Gran Matador, laughs, while tea or coffee is served at the same time.

Two girls chat, are excited and leave the room while the men at the table begins to drink brandy. The women stand at the window, look outside…

… where we see how a beautiful woman in a white dress runs towards a tall, young man, who has a bottle is his left hand. The two meet, the music gets exotic, spanish guitar, she looks him in the eyes, he smiles and looks at the house.

The two appear in the dining room and the godfather asks: “Who’s the stranger?”. The chatting women seem to feel the tension.. who does the guy thinks he is? The young man talks, the family boss looks him in the eye, he talks some stuff (whatever they say) and then it happens: The godfather wants to have another sip from his snifter but there is no brandy left!

This is the opportunity for the young man, steps forward, opens the bottle he brought (with a zziiiischhhh, like a beer…). A beat. Pours the brandy, sounds like someone pours a liter or so, when grapes fall into the glass. An off voice: “Smoooooth” and we see the lovers in front of the golden brandy sea.. revealing the label of Gran Matador brandy.

Of course, the father tastes it, loves it and agrees to the wedding. The godfather says, with a smile: “You have the same taste of brandy!” … and he’s a part of the family.

Philippine Emperador Brandy

Wow! This even beats the previous Matador commercial. This is hilarious!
Young friends, drink the great brandy of Emperador.. saying thousand things, haha, cheesy music. And then a great resolution, repeating the same scenes again, and again, all the men say “cheers”.

Black Cat Whiskey

Oh man.. what the heck. How drunk or what kind of drugs did these people take?
Not much to say, just watch this one. It’s slapstick, martial arts, fighting and one against all.

German Irish Whisky Tullamore

This is probably the perfect Irish phantasy for every German. An Irish pub somewhere in Ireland, cold, blue but inside warm and nice. Friends and people talk, a man takes a sip and feels the treasures of Ireland: nature, woods and rivers… what a cliché!

Jack Daniels

Hm, I like it. It’s so American, but very simple, concentrating on the bottle itself – explaining the label and finishing with a slightly ironic comment.

“The oldest registered distillery, established in 1866 in the United States. From a place where the water was cool, clean and iron-free. The Tennesse way. Which is not the easy way.. but it was his way. (meaning Jack Daniel)

Some slow rock music, the bottle pours two glasses of Jack Daniel’s.

“What the label doesn’t tell you, a sip will.”

That’s it.

Thumbnail pic: jek in the box license

Get articles like these and more:
Subscribe to our mailing list

10 Whisky, Brandy and Cognac commercials: What were they thinking?

Get a 10% Voucher AND Tasting Cognac eBook when you subscribe to our newsletter. Weekly updates about our stories, new products and deals.


Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

Write A Comment