Heavenly or Horrible? Friends Can’t Agree in Laphroaig’s Latest Self-Deprecating Ad

The #OpinionsWelcome campaign continues

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Best pals share a lot of common ground, but they don’t have to agree on their libation of choice.

They certainly don’t in a new video for Laphroaig scotch, part of its long-running #OpinionsWelcome campaign that has self-deprecatingly featured hundreds of blistering consumer comments, comparing the taste of the product to a burning hospital, primordial ooze, lighter fluid and fish eggs. Comedian Andy Daly famously read three and a half hours of insults for an ultra-long-form ad last year.

So, to call Laphroaig an acquired taste is a tremendous understatement.

In the new minute-long ad, dubbed “Friends for Life,” created by agency White Label U.K., pairs of buddies try Laphroaig for the first time and share their brutally honest impressions. Most can’t pronounce it, but that’s not the only thing that sticks in their throats. There’s plenty of hacking, coughing (gagging?) and differing viewpoints.

“It’s not as bad as you make it out to be,” says one woman, while her gal pal immediately shoots back, “It’s awful!” (She also guesses, perhaps incorrectly, that the scotch has been “aged with a yoga mat.”)

One dude thinks it tastes “like sucking on a sock,” and says it makes him sweaty, while his friend questions his sense of adventure.

Laphroaig likes to play up this kind of polarizing effect on drinkers, bringing friends together in this latest commercial ahead of the holidays, when disagreeing on adult beverages should be the least of everyone’s concern.

The whisky has taken this approach before, and others are following suit in turning negative feedback into advertising fodder. But it’s not losing its freshness, creativity or kick. It’s aging gracefully, you might say.

Like … Laphroaig? Depends on who you ask.

@TLStanleyLA tlstanley8@yahoo.com T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.