Have you read the latest issue of Imbibe? It’s pretty good. Those guys know their vino.
On page 42 there’s an article by Nick Wykes, well and truly putting the boot into brand ambassadors. Now I’ll say here and now that I have enormous respect for Nick’s prowess behind the stick, but isn’t that a bit like taking the piss out of the new Chief Secretary of the Treasury for being ginger? A bit too easy?
According to Nick’s Imbibe piece, we should scorn the brand ambassador because he (or she) earns a crust by possessing “the ability to speak out loud, be in possession of a vague insight into the market and have the bearing of a smug twat”.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t a few of them out there, but to write off a whole section of the booze industry based on the failings of the few seems wrong to me. A bit like writing off all bartenders because one once made you a dodgy mojito. Or indeed writing off all ‘bar consultants’ for having similar failings to the ambassador.
Earlier this year I returned from a stint editing a bar industry magazine in Australia. The bartender community there uniformly credit, at least in part, the drinks brands and good ambassadors for helping to lift the overall quality of the Aussie cocktail scene in recent years – to such an extent that Melbourne can now have one eye firmly on the ‘Cocktail Capital of the World’ title.
Aussie ‘tenders have none of the cynicism that is sometimes found in the UK. They embrace learning, wherever it might come from, and have a genuine desire to be better at what they do. Same can be said over here too of course, but this feeling of antipathy towards brand ambassadors is a point in case… who cares if a bartender decides to jack in long shifts and backache for a brand gig? Let them get on with it.
Everyone needs to pay the rent, and as long as they try to do a good job and bring something to the trade, full power to them. There’s enough pressure on the bar industry, with recession and government concern about binge drinking taking turns to keep operators awake at night, without causing dissention among the ranks.
Lets spread the love. Go out and hug a brand ambassador today – extra points if you can find a ginger one.