Kaluha Rocks it With ‘White Russian’ Branded Entertainment Video

Great story, great production values combined with the star power of Jeff Bridges. Awesome.

{ Fanboy warning. I’m a big Jeff Bridges fan. He was cool with his dad in Sea Hunt (look it up) and he’ll still be cool in his nineties doing ‘The Big Lebowski Part III.’ Anything with Jeff Bridges, is, by default, inherently awesome… fair warning. }

I’d award this marketing video 5 “OMG’s” for outright awesomeness. The folks at Stink films knocked this one out of the park. Director Ivan Zacharias does an incredible job at setting the tone and brining the ‘dude’ back to life. For those of you who may not recall, Jeff Bridges’ character, ‘The Dude’, in The Big Lebowski was rather fond of his White Russians. It only makes sense that the good folks at Kahlua would cajole Jeff Bridges into promoting their coffee flavoured stimulant/depressant liqueur. ( “I am sooooooo drunk right now… but still strangely alert.” )

Why is this video awesome? Let me explain why by way of a marketing video checklist. If you want your next promo to be ‘awesome’ it has to contain at least six of the following ten elements:


The 10 things your marketing video requires to be ‘awesome’

1. Jeff Bridges.

2. A great story.

This video has a beginning, a middle, an end… and it even includes a teaser ending. To recap: the video starts with a great intro and titling, a quest, a ‘discovery’, some sinister looking bad guys, a plot twist, a girl in a bar and then some more sinister bad guys. It feels like a movie trailer and I’m quite keen to see the rest of the movie if they ever decide to tack another 90 minutes onto this promo. Most web videos are boring, or salesy, or dumb or just poorly executed. This one is very entertaining. Sure, this video is just branded entertainment but that’s becoming a pretty smart strategy for consumer-focused companies looking to maintain relevance.

3. A purpose.

Kahlua could simply have done what most other lazy brands do – shoot some beautiful people consuming their product in an exotic locale and call it a day. But they took a risk and tried a little bit harder. They would be very smart to continue building their brand around these quirky little vignettes: bring in some new A-list (or B+ list) actors, make a few oblique references to pop-culture, and just entertain.

4. The “give me more” factor.

This is the single most difficult thing to do in entertainment or marketing. Eliciting a feeling in the viewer that makes them want to watch more… makes them want to find out what comes next. If you can accomplish this goal, you’re golden. If you can attach your brand to this type of content, that’s a very good thing.

5. Very high production values.

This video is really well done. It feels like a Cohen Brothers vignette. I love the vintage colour grade.  It really set the mood for the video. The cinematography is superb. The sound editing is awesome, it has great pace and great atmosphere… really top notch.

6. Jeff Bridges.

7. Great Music.

Music is so important to the success of a marketing video. Music sets the mood and it tells you how to you should feel. The music track in the car on the radio is ‘El Secreto Callado‘ by Diego Verdague. The track at the end of the film in the bar is Fading Blues” track by Hird and the rest of the music was a custom score played and recorded live for the video. It’s all good.

8. The video won’t appeal to everyone

That’s a good thing, BTW.  Sure, there are likely three or four people alive today who are not rabid Jeff Bridges fans and perhaps a few more who are not fond of off-beat, Cohenesque, hyper-quirky, too-clever, stylishly convoluted videos. Ignore them. Your brand will never appeal to everyone – acknowledging this fact is the first step to marketing salvation. Narrowcast a little and find a groove that suits those people who will care about and champion your brand. Which would you prefer, a million people saying ‘Ya, that was alright’ or a few hundred thousand saying ‘THAT WAS FRICK’EN AWESOME!!!’?

9. An easter egg.

Did anyone catch the ‘White Russian’ in the video. (The cosmonaut in the white spacesuit). Those little hidden nuggets make the video more memorable. So what was in the briefcase? Considering that Jeff Bridge’s character was employed on a coffee plantation, my guess would be a couple bottles of Kahlua. Or perhaps the Holy Grail…

10. Borrow a meme. reference pop culture, be cool.

People like what they like, so give them what they like. (That’s deep…)  There’s more than enough pop-culture references in this video to go around: a Cormac McCarthy plot, a Tarantino editing style and, of course, The Dude from the Big Lebowski. What’s not to like?

There you have it. Follow these 10 simple rules and you are on your way to branded entertainment success.

I really enjoyed the subtle, slow motion swirl of the dude’s favourite concoction at the very end. Product placement done with both purpose and style.

This is a great little promo video that serves to animate the Kahlua brand and that subtlety but surely implants the idea of Kahlua in the back of your brain. That’s how advertising works.




Jimm Fox


Jimm has been working in video and marketing for the last 25 years agency side, client side and in video production.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.