Hooch tries 6m TV comeback

Bass Brewers launches a more masculine and adult Hooper’s Hooch on television next week with an ad featuring a urinal.

The 6m campaign by EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper aims to reposition the Hooch brand after a year in which the bottom has dropped out of alcopop sales.

Two TV executions are to run nationally, supported by promotions and a new character called Miles Sharper, played by comedian Paul Kaye (better known as Dennis Pennis). He will write a column for Loaded from now until the New Year, offering “refreshingly sharp” insights on topical events.

The campaign will continue the theme of the press ads that followed Hooch’s revamp about a year ago, when it was given a sharper flavour.

The first TV ad is set in a stark, trendy bar. It features a young man who drinks a Hooch and then, when answering the call of nature, accidentally splits a urinal in half. The ad carries the strapline: “Hooch Lemon, that little bit sharper.”

The second ad stars a mosquito with a taste for Hooch. After knocking some back, it cuts through a glass door to feast on the neck of a sleeping tourist.

Alcopops have been roundly vilified in the media for targeting teenagers, and are widely believed to appeal to women more than men. But Kevin Wallace, marketing manager for Hooper’s products, argues the media hijacked the Hooch brand, turning it into something it wasn’t.

“The new campaign is an attempt to redress that once and for all. It is aimed at young adults aged 20-24. It’s fair to say that the advertising is deliberately male-biased, although it certainly doesn’t turn off women,” he says.

According to statistics from AC Nielsen, the alcoholic carbonates sector shrunk by 43 per cent in the year to August. Sales appear to have been stolen by spirit mixed drinks, which grew by 40 per cent in the same period. Bass, however, argues that Hooch continues to sell 2 million bottles a week.

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