Nothing more than this cider’s brand would cloy this print ad’s thirst for a slick copy. This idyllic scene could’ve been any from Europe’s fairytale forests but with “Sherwood” affixed here, the mind easily makes the English connection. Couple that with obviously off-tangent arrows, and—wham! bam!—it hits you: Robin Hood is a drunkard!
Cagey it may be, but this advertising innuendo is the work of the Finnish for the Finnish, a lot of whom may not decipher British folklore at short notice. Sherwood Cider is a product of Olvi, one of Finland‘s biggest brewing companies.
Its premium cider’s name takes after the primordial forest in Nottinghamshire, England. Sherwood Forest is hailed as the erstwhile home of Robin Hood.
In the purported era of Robin Hood, sometime in the 13th century, this forest sprawled for around 100,000 acres. That time, it was a royal hunting forest, a territory devoted to Norman sovereigns like John and Edward I. Now Sherwood Forest is just a vestige of its royal past, the ancient forest covering only 450 acres today.
If tales of yore in England were to let on, Robin Hood was a Saxon noble, the son of Earl of Huntingdon, who ruled over Locksley in Nottinghamshire. King John, sovereign over England while King Richard the Lionheart was on a Crusade, had the Earl murdered, stole his land, and deprived Robin Hood of his birthright. Pronounced an outlaw, Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest. Here he subsisted on deer and stole from rich wayfarers, only to give the goods to the poor.
Robin Hood, however, is no more true than the legend of King Arthur. Sherwood Forest is a real location nonetheless, far more real than Camelot or Avalon. Sherwood is of great age, containing some of the continent’s oldest plants. Truth to tell, some trees here have reached 500 years old.
The tree in the ad alludes to Major Oak, a living, acorn-bearing tree in Sherwood, held to be the domicile of Robin Hood and his merry men. Weighing 23 tons, Major Oak has been here for all of eight centuries.
Sherwood Premium Cider would be lucky to keep producing similarly themed ads that long. One can’t be too prolific in advertising with such limited concept as Robin Hood. Adaptability should be no problem though, when there’s always Maid Marian or the Merry Men to shoot arrows at.
Advertising Agency: DDB Helsinki, Finland
Art Director: Antti Kaarto
Copywriter: Netta Stenius
Photographer: Antti Salminen