Words by Jason “J-Rockaz” Orford
Recently, as I passed briskly (Johnny Walker style) through the heavy rush-hour bustle of the Atlantic Avenue station in downtown Brooklyn, I found myself giving a quick LargeUp nod to Trini bwoy Theophilus London–who was staring back at me from an ad for Bushmills. Atlantic station, for those unfamiliar, is one of the most high-traffic transportation hubs in NYC and has recently received an extensive face-lift including new digital signage, better lighting, a fresh coat of paint and of course the mind-altering message boards we call ads, posted to speak to those of us on the platforms as we wait impatiently for the 2 to Flatbush or the 4 to Utica. It’s also a space where, despite gentrification, you can still people-watch and appreciate the vibrant fabric of West Indian culture weaving to and from the outer-borough settlements of Flatbush and Crown Heights.
All of which makes it an ideal spot for a poster like this. The full campaign, shot by Jonathan Mannion, has been running for a hot minute at the station, in a prime location where passersby are forced to notice the multiple images as they transfer trains or exit the tunnel. Although centered on nowadays purveyors of “cool”–and nicely balancing timeless sentiments of friendship/kinship with the easy, twitpic spontaneity of the young generation–as a physical campaign, it missed the Brooklyn mark, leaning a bit too continuously towards Williamsburg, stylistically speaking.
Theo was a natural choice and able filler of that void. And West Indians are no strangers to Scotch, by the way. It’s always been in the bar or the liquor cabinet and if you ask some island folks (including my uncles) about whiskey they’ll immediately ask if you are referring to Scotch. Since Bushmills (an Irish Whiskey) is being positioned as a smoother, less smokey alternative for the new generation of single malt connoisseurs, it’s a good look for both the artist and the drink. Check out more images and backstory on the campaign via Hypbeast (here and here) or jump on the iron horse straight to BK to peep what we a chat ’bout.