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Delusions of grandeur can be tricky to shake. So it is with Smirnoff, whose marketing campaign flounced on for years with some preposterous airs and graces – Ten times filtered! Triple distilled! Purer even than the bloodline of the Russian Tsars! – before finally acknowledging the truth: today's vodka drinkers don't care about the crystal clarity of their booze, they just want something wincingly strong to decant into a half-full bottle of Panda Pops and swig away at on public transport. Consequently, Smirnoff has done what anyone hoping to build an intriguing new identity does: got a silly haircut, and toddled off to art school. "The nocturnal awakening is about to begin!" purrs a sexy-scary Grace Jones catlady, bidding us entry to a warehouse full of performing arts graduates getting clumsy with tins of paint.
Last time you had a "nocturnal awakening" involving a bottle of vodka, you probably found yourself dumping your bedsheets in the bath as your significant other wept in the darkness. But this is different. There are breakdancers! Owls! Someone just covered a grand piano with ice! "The night is our muse … our canvas … our clay!" booms not-Grace, importantly. It's like the insufferable carnival field at Glastonbury, but not on acid. Worst of all, these terrible creatives don't just want us to drink, they want us to "get involved". Isn't it irritating how every ad campaign these days wants us to participate? With this carnival of piss artists? Come off it. George the Hofmeister Bear never invited me to his private installation. That was a bear with no pretensions. I miss that guy.