I’ve just had an interesting illustration of the declining sales of brandy in South Africa – although this involved one of the top-end brands, which as far as I know are less affected. My own stocks were scarily low, so I called in at my local Tops and, being an Oude Meester admirer, bought a bottle of my standby Demant (R190) and, for a more occasional treat, a bottle of Oude Meester Reserve 12-year-old (about double the price). I bought those and cast some wistful glances at the matchless 18-year-old Souverein (R1000 – up from R700 six months ago).
When I eventually divested the Reserve of all its wasteful and expensive packaging (a metal-and-cardboard tube and swathes of tissue paper), I found the bottle bearing a neck tag, featuring a dark, suave dude in sunglasses, holding a snifter of brandy and representing, I supposed, the target market for this brandy.
Oh – as I looked again, I noticed the name “Jamie Foxx” next to the dude. Huh? The name meant nothing to me, so I googled it and found out via Wikipedia that he is “Eric Marlon Bishop (born December 13, 1967), known professionally as Jamie Foxx, … an American actor, singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian and musician”. (I can understand that “Eric Bishop” is a little lacking in edge, but how does anyone ever dream of spelling Fox with a double X? Is this why good PR companies are worth their extreme exactions?)
So I’m left to suppose that even if the dude himself is not the target market, the target market is the sort of person who would know all of that info about Jamie even without resorting to Google. The sort of person (man?) who would admire him, and would probably also wear sunglasses and a sharp black suit while holding oversized (and rather over-filled) snifters of brandy.
Anyway, reverting to my own world: the bottle’s necktag also invited me to win various prizes, including “1 of 10 tailor-made suits by Frank Bespoke worth R15 000 each”. Wow, I thought. Though “Frank Bespoke” meant as little to me as “Jammie Foxx”. But then I saw the small print on the other side saying that the “promotion ends 31 December 2012”, and my hopes crashed. Nearly two years ago this necktag had its sell-by date! So presumably this bottle was expected to be off the shelf by then. And clearly it wasn’t.
Which is, I think, a great pity. Really, all the Jamie Foxx admirers would have done much better to buy Oude Meester Reserve than some dreary whisky or whiskey or vodka.
Well, I’m doing my bit to advertise the stuff. I heard this week that my longish article on the historic woes and present delights of Cape brandy is to be published in the December issue of World of Fine Wine. I wonder if Mr Foxx reads it.
Postscript: I really am writing this as I discover stuff, being too lazy to recast the whole thing. I now realise, from looking again at the Google page, that, although I am woefully ignorant about American filmstars’ names, I have actually seen a movie with Jamie Foxx – Tarantino’s Django Unchained. But that was in the days when I watched the occasional film, before going onwards and upwards to American, French and Danish TV series. At present, thanks to Werner Briedenhann of La Motte who lent me the DVDs, I’m very happily immersed in the second series of one of the earliest classics of the present Golden Age of TV – The Sopranos. Goes well with brandy, too.