Total Pageviews

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Maker\'s Mark Gets Political


Mary Matalin and James Carville's odd-couple shtick has long been a staple of cable news. He plays the irascible liberal with a sharp tongue and a penchant for bizarre Cajun metaphors. She is the conservative counterpoint, far more reserved but ever incredulous.

But now the couple are lending their routine to a pursuit that many people probably find far more palatable than politics: bourbon drinking.

Ms. Matalin and Mr. Carville, who have been married for nearly 20 years, have filmed a series of short videos promoting Maker's Mark, the Kentucky-distilled bourbon. Their connection to Maker's Mark isn't necessarily obvious. He is from Louisiana, she is from Chicago, and they now live in New Orleans.

Bill Samuels Jr., who inherited Maker's Mark from his father and ran it for 35 years, explained in an interview that he has been friendly with the couple since he first met Mr. Carville in the late 1980s. Mr. Carvill e was then a strategist for Wallace G. Wilkinson, a Democrat who would go on to become the governor of Kentucky.

“I said this is a fun guy,” recalled Mr. Samuels, who described his own politics as closer to Ms. Matalin's than Mr. Carville's. “I'm not sure I agree with him on all his politics, but he's a fun guy.”

When Mr. Samuels decided that Maker's Mark needed some new spokespeople for its “Cocktail Party” promotion - a marketing campaign that urges people to eschew the mainstream political parties in favor of one that embraces just one platform (bourbon) - he said he thought of Mr. Carville almost immediately. (Though Ms. Matalin and Mr. Carville were paid to star in the videos, Maker's Mark said the couple's longstanding friendship with Mr. Samuels was the reason they agreed to participate.)

Ms. Matalin and Mr. Carville filmed a few videos in which they recreate their trademark political bickering in mock newscasts. “You may be asking your selves, ‘I wonder what James's favorite Maker's Mark cocktail is,'” Mr. Carville says. Ms. Matalin is quick to shoot back, “Then again, you may not be.”

In one video, Mr. Carville and Mr. Samuels perform a wildly off-key version of “America the Beautiful” that would make Mitt Romney, who was known to belt the song out on cue during the Republican primaries, cringe. “Some of it was pretty horrendous,” Mr. Samuels laughed, blaming Mr. Carville for the idea.

“He said we ought to do something more patriotic other than walk around with a cocktail in our hands. But when he started singing, Mary left the room.”