Barry Dawson is The Cougar

Barry Dawson is The Cougar. That’s the opening line in an advertising campaign for Fosters’ Australian Cougar dark rum and bourbon, launched in September 2006. Nine second teasers introduced Barry Dawson to television viewers. Three TV ads then showed Barry demonstrating the arts designed to help men survive in any situation, invisibleness, mind control and speediness.

Art of Invisibleness

Barry Dawson is the Cougar

Barry Dawson is the Cougar

In “The Art of Invisibleness” Barry Dawson demonstrates what happens when the drinking Master receives a call from his lady friend. Click on the image below to play the video.

In “The Art of Mind Control” the Master and his lady friend are confronted by a wild dog. Click on the image below to play the video.

In “The Art of Speediness” Barry Dawson practices the ancient art of speediness. Click on the image below to play the video.

Master the Cougar Arts Background

The Master the Cougar Arts campaign builds on the emotional connection between 18-24 year old males and the Cougar brand, using self deprecating humour and the retro style tone that has proven popular amongst this audience.

The hero of the campaign is Barry ‘The Cougar’ Dawson – a self proclaimed master of manliness who is slightly but obviously not as smooth as he would have us believe! Barry has even found himself on where he received requests for dates by two lovely ladies! Click on the image below to play the video.

Master the Cougar Arts is Cougar’s biggest creative campaign since the brand was first made famous with the 2001 “Five Cougars Thanks” campaign via The Campaign Palace, Sydney.

“We are excited about the Master the Cougar Arts campaign,” said Brea Herde, Senior Cougar Brand Manager. “Barry Dawson has proven a hit with our target market. Master the Cougar Arts supports the brand’s position, making no demand of the consumer to behave or feel differently, but to simply enjoy being who they are.”

Click on the image below to play the video.

The Cougar Arts. What are they? They’re this: a set of powerful Man-Skills designed to help you survive in any situation, from tying your shoelaces to fighting off a pack of giant wild tigers.

Founded by Brian “The Guru” Watson in 1968, The Cougar Arts Federation became known for its unique philosophy – “Don’t try to get away with anything too big at first, and then try a bit harder and gradually you’ll probably get somewhere.”

Barry “The Cougar” Dawson is now Head Instructor at the school. He is a Black Belt Master and an exponent of “Man-Skills” – a set of powerful techniques including “Mind Control” “Speediness” and “Invisible-ness”.

Barry says, “A lot of kids come into our school because they’re wanting to kick someone’s arse. I don’t teach that. I usually instruct that you should kick the knee or groin. Then, when they’re on the ground, rolling around, you can consider the arse.”

“There is a temptation to miss-use the powers of the Cougar Arts,” says Barry Dawson. “But a true student of the Cougar Arts knows when he’s in a tight situation to just cool down and maybe watch a bit of TV.”

In 2003, the school changed its name to The Australian Cougar Arts Federation. The club now boasts many members and sometimes holds barbecues.

Click on the image below to play the video.

Barry Dawson Cougar Dark Rum is his style

Barry Dawson likes his bourbon like his women - mature and on the rocks


The Barry Dawson campaign was developed at George Patterson Y&R by creative director James McGrath, copywriter Ant Keogh, art director Grant Rutherford and agency producer Romanca Jasinski.

Filming was directed by Steve Ayson, The Sweetshop, with producer Claire Kelly, and director of photography Greig Fraser.

Editor was Jack Hutchings.

Sound and music were developed at Level Two Music, Electric Dreams and Flagstaff Studios.

Casting was done by Kirsty McGregor and Adrian Dentice.

Photography was by Chris Budgeon.