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 YouTube

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 YouTube

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

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 in YouTube

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 in YouTube

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 in YouTube

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.

  • Adam_Y

    As far as I can tell, alcoholic beverages have been a great influence on advertising. Easily some of my favourite adverts, the beer industry has consistently mixed sex and humour to great effect whilst developing what is now known as viral marketing (coming from those ‘water cooler’ aimed adverts of the late 80s).

    I like these ones, they have charm.

  • matthew

    I think you should ackowledge that your market just wants cheap piss and plenty of it – you are not selling wild turkey after all!

    So the girl with the big boobs was great – she appealed to the market you attract…but we really want cans to take to the park or drink on public transport or similar – they have to be cheap, and as long as they have the right amount of alcohol they dont have to taste great (like woodstock! – cheap and you get a big can, bigger than 375ml for the same price!!!)

    So to mix the best of both worlds – blonde booby girl and cheap drink – I suggest a “Massive Cans” promotion – “All the fellas love Massive Cans!!!” or “Get you hands on our Massive Cans” – you can have the girl presenting over-sized boobs and cans of cougar to blokes in the park or the back yard…”So when you think of Cougar – remember Massive Cans!!!”

    Best of luck!!!

  • Matt_G

    I also think the ‘5 Cougars thanks’ campaign was a classic. It should be combined with the proposed ‘massive cans’ idea.

    In additon to the above catch phrases, you can use ‘get your hands off my massive cans’!

    Also, ‘do you like my massive cans’!

  • Mal

    Indeed “5 Cougars thanks” was a classic campaign although I have it on good authority that while creating great brand awareness the campaign did little for sales.

    Fact of the matter is bourbon drinkers don’t order Cougar in a bar. I think matthew is on to something…

    I’m picturing a bloke in a ute ordering “Massive Cans” from said blond booby girl at the drive through then throw to the back yard scene with him telling the story to his mates.

    Sales promo plus ad with boobs = happy CUB (cashed up bogan)

  • Anthony

    the site is good but you should be able
    to download the videos
    i have a school project on some ads
    and i can’t download them anywhere, not youtube
    or any downloading programs nothing.
    so i would reccomend putting a download option

  • Anthony you should be able to download the ads from The Sweetshop and Jack Hutchings. See my article on How to Download Videos, listed under Duncans TV Guides in the sidebar, on how to do this.

  • jon cox

    I was in one of these ads…so i would love to see it but it doesnt appear to be on you tube at all.

  • jon cox

    The first one and it doesnt play for some reson…Im the guy with the tie!