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Manny Pacquiao and the Liquor Ad – What’s It About?


by Charles Jay

There are varying schools of thought on the idea of Manny Pacquiao appearing in an advertisement for an alcohol brand (in this case Hennessy, a cognac) after he had proclaimed himself free from drinking and supposedly a “changed man,” complete with advice directly from the Almighty.

Some feel that the ads, which we’re told are running on huge digital screens in the middle of Times Square, are a bad example for Pacquiao to set, considering that he is essentially readying himself for preacher mode. To others, PacMan can be a “changed man” regardless of what company he chooses to lend his name to.

Pacquiao himself has a point when he asserts that the commercial has less to do with drinking alcohol than it does with the kind of inspiration one needs to become truly successful in one’s field of endeavor. Indeed, the character of the ad, which is called “Wild Rabbit” but carries the theme “Never Stop. Never Settle,” reflects that.

It’s quite an extraordinary 60-second commercial, and there’s not a liquor bottle to be seen until the very end.

There is certainly a sincerity in Hennessy’s intentions regarding the ad campaign, which will also feature an ad with director Martin Scorsese. “What makes these individuals special is that they are always striving to grow and evolve and reach new levels of achievement,” said Rodney Williams, the senior VP of the company, in a press release. “In championing their stories, we endeavor to tell Hennessy’s story and empower our consumers in their own chase.”

However, these things are called “endorsements” for a reason, and whichever way you slice it, Pacquiao’s appearance in an advertisement for an alcoholic beverage (a paid appearance, needless to say) would seem to indicate a tacit approval for the kind of lifestyle that would embrace such an activity.

The best guess from this perspective is that the Lord must have given the OK on the ad, which doesn’t necessarily imply that cognac will one day be served in the chalice, but that in the year 2012, the Man Upstairs seems to be loosening up on this kind of thing.

As has mentioned time and again in this space, that kind of leniency could be good news for everybody who likes to have a good time, because, as they say, a rising tide floats all boats, or something like that.

As we’ve explored, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete talk of retirement on Pacquiao’s part, although he has stated recently that he has his eyes on a gubernatorial seat next year, with a vice-presidential run coming in 2016. There is cash to be made now, though (perhaps to help clear up some tax bills), and he may have gotten an adjustment on that previous High Command to hang up the gloves.

You can explore some of the newspapers from the Philippines, and you’ll see that reaction to Pacquiao’s Hennessy ad is drawing some passionate responses from both ends of the spectrum. One would assume that if it continues, Pacquiao will continue to defend himself by stressing that it’s not about alcohol.

I do agree with that, but I am also a little leery about it at the same time.

No, it’s not really about alcohol, but it sure as hell (oops) isn’t about God either.

It’s pretty much about one thing.

Take a guess what that is.

Why doesn’t he just say that?

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