Posted above is Sauza Tequila‘s much-anticipated “Make It with a Lifeguard” commercial — better known as the “Sauza lifeguard ad.” , Just in case you weren’t pumped up enough about the latest from, to add to the excitement, we were lucky enough to be able to spend the day at to bring you a behind-the-scenes exclusive of the commercial shoot.
First to Know was the only media outlet invited to Delfino Studios in Sylmar, California, to interview Sauza Tequila Brand Manager, Lindsey Lewis, and ad agency Havas’ Associate Creative Director, Ecole Weinstein. We got to meet the man everyone is going wild over, shirtless lifeguard Anderson Davis, as well as his co-star — this adorable Labrador puppy.
Recognizing what women everywhere really want, the brand found a way to segment the female market.
“You can’t make a margarita without tequila,” said Lewis. “And since tequila is our bread and butter, we started learning more about the people who were drinking these cocktails. Basically, once we strategically knew that we were speaking to women, it became all about selling tequila in a margarita recipe. Margaritas are the number one consumed cocktail in the US. Other brands do not directly speak to women. We want to be the choice for tequila whenever a woman wants to make some margaritas for her and her girlfriends.”
Weinstein, the brain behind the “Make It” campaign, knew there was a more interesting way to get women to pay attention to a recipe. This sexier ad reflects a significant shift in spirits marketing, looking beyond traditional male-oriented campaigns.
“It boiled down to talking to women the way they want to be spoken to. We adopted this tone that’s cheeky, smart and humorous. Not anything cheesy, gross or something that makes us feel like a man wrote it,” she explains. “Our intentions were that our concept would go viral. We passionately believed in its potential. After leaning into this niche and taking a tongue-in-cheek approach, our campaign evolved. What woman doesn’t love an attractive man and baby animals?”
Despite their intentions, both Lewis and Weinstein were very surprised with how successful the first campaign was. Within the first week of Sauza’s “Make It with a Fireman” video airing on YouTube it garnered over one million views. They also found out back in December that it was the 15th most watched ad in 2012. Purchase numbers were flying off the charts and women wanted more. It has been such a hit, that there is even controversy surrounding Kraft Foods Inc., since earlier this week they released an ad featuring Sauza’s lifeguard.
“It’s one thing when people just pass your video around but one of my favorite things about our campaign is reading the comments below the videos. There are these women that took the time to give overwhelmingly positive comments with such a sense of humor,” Lewis said while laughing. “They wanted to see what was next from us. Last year, we filmed only one spot, but since people were asking for more, we now have seven different pieces of footage on our YouTube page.”
This year, Sauza decided to create more content for “Make It with a Lifeguard,” shooting four different spots featuring Davis, with four different scripts. They all have a different look and feel — two of them will be supporting their new product and the other two will support Sauza Blue. Sauza will also be doing a really cool program with Corona around Cinco de Mayo in May.
Obviously, Davis is not a real lifeguard, but he is what most women would call masculine, gentle, beautiful and sensitive. “I wanted to keep pulling back the layers and make him keep getting better and better. I don’t want to say we created the perfect man, but we kind of did,” said Weinstein.
Beam Global Spirits & Wine family owns Sauza, along with four other tequilas and over 60 additional liquor brands. Through their company-wide focus on both effective marketing and innovation in product, they have grown to become the fourth largest premium spirits company in the world. Since switching gears and deciding to focus on the digital space, the Sauza team has seen the awareness for their brand continuously grow. They have been making headway, especially with their recent exciting, fresh and fun ideas aimed at women, while also taking pride in delivering the freshest tasting tequila in the industry.
We’re pretty sure this year’s “Make It with a Lifeguard” ad will generate just as much viral heat for Sauza, if not more, than last year’s.
Check out the print and digital campaign photos taken by Roger Snider, below, as well as the rest of our behind-the-scenes footage.