Matthew McConaughey: Actor Joins Wild Turkey Bourbon As Creative Director

Matthew McConaughey is the new face of Wild Turkey bourbon, as the Academy Award-winning actor has officially signed on to be the brand’s creative director.

According to AdWeekWild Turkey first approached McConaughey to be their celebrity spokesman for its new ad campaign several years ago. At the time, Matthew said he “wanted to be more than the face of the campaign.”

“I told them, ‘I don’t want to be just a face. I have ideas. I’m an idea man,'” McConaughey said. “The brand is a little dusty, and in some ways I’m shaping a full-on reintroduction. The great news is that Wild Turkey hasn’t changed in all these years — it’s totally authentic. And that appeals to millennials. Because they can smell fake. Some manicured, bearded hipster soliciting them? No, thanks. And millennials don’t want bourbon lite. These people want bourbon, brother!”

On Monday, August 1, Gruppo Campari, the premium spirits company, announced that McConaughey, who has appeared in ads for brands like Ford’s Lincoln, had signed a contract to serve as creative director for Wild Turkey bourbon as part of a multiyear deal. The announcement was made with the release of a six-minute documentary, which was directed by the actor himself and filmed at the Wild Turkey distillery that is located just a short 20-minute drive from the University of Kentucky, where McConaughey’s parents first met.

According to the New York Times, the first TV and digital ad campaigns, which are also being written and directed by McConaughey, will launch in September, and along with writing and directing the ads, Matthew has also involved himself in the recording of the music for each individual ad. Matthew is also giving his opinions on creating new Wild Turkey products, and a Matthew McConaughey-branded bourbon is already in talks of being a possibility.

“He’s seen the story for what it really was, not just bourbon, but about the heritage, about the families that have been doing this for five, six, seven generations,” Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell said.

“I did get more than I bargained for, but in a great way,” Melanie Batchelor, vice president for global spirits, added. “Personally, I have been completely overwhelmed with his level of commitment.”

“I know that [celebrity creative director] can be a title that’s talked about by a number of other companies, but our experience has been that Matthew has had an extremely high level of engagement,” Batchelor added. “He’s been involved in every single piece of the process, from writing the ads—he’s obviously starring in the ads, and he’s also directing the ads—so he’s both in front of and behind the camera.”

Although his new role will require quite a bit of commitment, McConaughey says he is definitely up for the challenge.

“When making a movie, you have two hours to tell a story,” McConaughey said. “Here I have 30 seconds to reintroduce the world to this authentic American brand that has helped shape an entire U.S. industry: bourbon. It will be a very interesting and fun challenge. Wild Turkey has the history and qualities of a brand that depicts the dedication of someone to do something their own way – even if that way isn’t always the most popular.”

Although Matthew has appeared in ads for other brands, his partnership with Wild Turkey marks the first time he has served as creative director and behind-the-camera director. Are you excited to see the new Wild Turkey ads? Leave your comments below.

[Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation/AP Images]