20 Great TV Ad Campaigns for 20 Great Beers
When a Bro sits down to watch a football game or an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” we thankfully don’t have to suffer through tampon commercials or promos for Justin Bieber albums. Instead, we get treated to commercials that suit our masculine interests… especially beer. Brewing companies' new advertising campaigns are typically unveiled each fall as pigskin madness descends, and climaxes in early February with the $2 million-plus Super Bowl ads. Since we're just a few weeks away from the latest batch of brew ads, we decided to look back and collect our favorite 20 beer advertising campaigns.
Note: We only went with one campaign per company, so that's why, for example the “Bud-Weis-Er,” “Wazzzup,” and “Bud Bowl” campaigns are not represented for Budweiser. Check out all the videos after the jump.
20. Molson Ice: The McKenzie Brothers
In the 90s, Molson Ice aired a series of commercials featuring the great Rick Moranis as one of the “McKenzie Brothers.” These two north-of-the-border Bros, who made their original screen debut on Canadian sketch comedy show “SCTV” in 1980, do a solid job showing us what Molson Ice is all aboot, and give us a few good laughs in the process.
19. Amstel Light: One Dam Good Bier
This commercial gives the perfect taste of what makes Amsterdam such a cool city. With “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis ringing distinctly in the background, this fast-paced ad simply highlights the unique culture Amsterdam has to offer. The guy juggling a soccer ball while hanging on the light post at 0:10 is something awesome that you can be sure you’d never see here in the States. By the way, the old guy at the beginning is saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, let's begin!” This would be ranked higher if there were more commercials in the campaign.
18. Natural Light: Nattyisms
The unofficial beer of almost every college campus in the country, Natty Light finally became popular enough to warrant its own ad campaign. The concept of Nattyisms is pretty hilarious in theory, but the commercials use some embarrassingly stupid cartoon diagrams that make them hard to get too psyched about. The puns — natastrophe, naturday, etc. — are solid, though, and each commercial ends with a Bro opening an exploding can of Natty to the slogan “Now You’re Talking,” which is pretty badass. These have the potential to make moves toward the top of the list if they were refined a little bit.
17. Keystone Light: Always Smooth/Keith Stone
Produced as a response to the aforementioned Nattyism campaign by Keystone’s primary competitor, the clever “Always Smooth” campaign might be the most under-appreciated on this entire list. The earlier commercials featured Bros striking out badly with chicks, before a voice-over declared that even though they couldn’t always be smooth, Keystone Light could. These eventually evolved into the character of “Keith Stone,” a redneck who — like the product — actually can always be smooth. Check out the perfect 10 he rescues from a tree in this commercial, and then give Mr. Stone a well deserved tip of the cap… even if it is a greasy ass trucker cap.
16. Carlton Draught: It's a Big Ad
You probably haven’t seen this as often as you have the other ads on this list (if you’ve seen it at all), due to the fact that it was primarily an international ad. Not really a campaign like the others, this commercial for Carlton Draught (one of Australia’s biggest beers) had to be included on the list because, well, it's really f*cking awesome. The words aren’t as funny as I bet the advertisers thought they were, but watching the guys in the yellow “beer” robes get funneled down into the stomach of that big red guy is one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen in a beer commercial visually. More importantly, this commercial makes me really want to pound a Carlton, which is what any good ad is going for, right? The song, which you've heard countless times elsewhere, is “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff.
15. Sam Adams: Take Pride in Your Beer
Classy. Effective. Goes down easy. The Sam Adams “Take Pride in Your Beer” campaign is a perfect reflection of the beer it’s promoting. Done in a series of chapters, the familiar format of these commercials almost always includes a cameo from founder Jim Koch (the Bro who smells and chews the beer), as well as that brewer who looks like he was separated from Kevin Youklis at birth. These commercials have long been a cornerstone during stoppages in NFL games, and there’s a reason they’ve withstood the test of time so well.
14. Corona: Relax Responsibly
These commercials have been around forever, and probably sync up with the type of beer they promote better than any other campaign on this list. The sun in the sky and the sound of the waves are constants throughout the series, and remind us what a good niche beer Corona is. As simple as they are visually and although there is never any dialogue (or even any faces), these commercials can also be surprisingly funny. The Bro covering the fat guy with his Corona at 1:26 is one of the most classic moments in beer advertising history.
13. Heineken: Give Yourself a Good Name
Heineken’s advertising campaigns were pretty dull until the “Give Yourself a Good Name” series took over. The slogan itself isn’t very recognizable, and unlike the other campaigns on the list most of the commercials have little in common other than the fact they promote Heineken. That being said, it’s hard to omit the campaign that brought us the Bros getting moved to courtside seats at a basketball game, as well as the revival of Biz Markie in the “Let a Stranger Drive You Home” commercial.
12. Miller Lite: Man-Laws
It’s hard to go too wrong with commercials that star members of the Bro Hall of Fame like Burt Reynolds, Jimmie Johnson, and Jerome Bettis. These free-flowing conversations among voices whom all men respect greatly became watercooler talking points in their heyday, and the term “Man-law” is still thrown around in casual conversation. That’s the sign of effective advertising: staying power.
11. Michelob Ultra Amber: The World of Light Beer Just Got a Little Bit Darker
I’ll never forget how hard I laughed the first time I saw the touch football commercial during Super Bowl XL. I don’t usually condone violence towards the gentler sex, but there’s something about decking a girl after she makes a catch and yelling “you were open and now you are closed” that I find particularly entertaining. This campaign works beautifully with the slogan “The World of Light Beer Just Got a Little Bit Darker,” in an effort to promote the underrated Michelob Ultra Amber, a pretty solid brew.
10. Coors Light: Fake Press Conferences
With a little more consistency, this campaign might have found itself in the top 5. As it stands, the Coors Light Fake Press Conferences are too hit and miss to warrant a spot any higher than 10. I mean, the concept is brilliant. Splice up some of the most famous coaching rants in sports history, but rather than reporters, have the coaches responding to questions from a group of Bros who only want to hear about how good their Rocky Mountain Coors are. Moments like Mike Ditka telling one of the guys he never gets any action are classic, but commercials like the Denny Green “they are who we thought they were” just seem too forced.
9. Miller High Life: Delivery Guy
You’ve gotta love the not-so-subtle ode to the working-class man that Miller High Life “delivers” in this campaign. You can tell there’s nothing those waspy douches in the skybox at a baseball game resent more than having their beer confiscated by a giant black dude. But hey, that's the price you pay for not actually watching the game, right? Beer and baseball go together like peanut butter and jelly, or girls and Solows. Sure, they can be O.K. individually but when you put them together you’ve really got something special. The Miller High Life delivery guy gets a salute for helping to put the brew back in the hands of the people who actually give a f*ck about the game.
8. Red Stripe: Hooray Beer!
I don’t know what’s funnier, the Jamacian guy’s accent, his facial expressions, or his giant red sash that reads “Red Stripe.” What I do know is that it makes for an extraordinarily good ad campaign. In addition to the “Hooray Beer” slogan used at the end of each commercial, the folks at Red Stripe do a good job picking on their bottle’s chode-inspired shape and size, claiming that it can make even “berry ugly” guys look beautiful in comparison. This way, the more beer you drink, it isn’t only the girl who slowly gets more attractive — you do too!
7. Labatt Blue: Bear
A little bit more old-school than some of its counterparts on this list, the Labatt Blue series with the giant talking bear was a primetime TV mainstay in the earlier part of the 2000s. Just like Brian Griffin on “Family Guy,” the bear is enough of a Bro that hot girls are able to see past the fact that he’s an animal, and still want to go back to his cave for a night of “hibernation.” The bear is an expert bartender and hockey player — which goes without saying — and it seems his only flaw would be that he isn’t old enough to buy beer…even if he is 29 in bear years.
6. Guinness: Share One With a Friend or Two
Like the Carlton “One Big Ad” commercial, this one is ranked lower than it should be due to the fact that it isn’t really part of a campaign or series of commercials. Regardless of its failure to meet the requirement of the list, the “Share One With a Friend or Two” commercial is too awesome to keep from hovering around the top 5. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and do so immediately. My words can’t really do this piece justice so I’ll let it speak for itself.
5. Milwaukee’s Best Light: Men Should Act Like Men
These commercials are so good that they almost make you want to overlook the fact that Milwaukee’s Best is actually the rest of the country’s worst. In spite of the product they’re selling, the slogan hits home to Bros far and wide, and watching guys get crushed by giant beer cans when they act like little girls is poetic justice at its finest. One too many times I’ve had a solid poker game interrupted by one of my p*ssy friends stepping out to have an impromptu heart-to-heart with his girlfriend. I thought stealing his chips was punishment enough, but now I think he really deserves to get clobbered by a massive aluminum can.
4. Budweiser: Clydesdales
A Super Bowl would not be a Super Bowl without at least one appearance from Budweiser’s signature mascots. The commercial where they kick the field goal was made in 1995, and 15 years later is still — by almost all accounts — one of the best commercials of all-time. The Budweiser company has done a very good job in finding a way to keep the Clydesdales relevant without overplaying them. That probably explains why I still get excited to see them on my screen this long after their debut.
3. Bud Light: Real Men of Genius
These commercials have literally nothing to do with Bud Light, but who the f*ck cares? Sometimes, pure advertising genius is as simple as saluting the guy who designs the pro wrestling wardrobes. And you know, singing an '80s-style glam-rock song about him. So after sending your salutes to so many of the world’s greatest Bros, this Bud is for you, Mr. Creator of the Real Men of Genius campaign.
2. Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World
“The Most Interesting Man in the World” jokes are what Chuck Norris jokes would be if Chuck Norris jokes were funny at all. I mean, there’s no way in hell Chuck Norris can speak French in Russian like this Bro can. As if his legacy needed any additions, The Most Interesting Man in the World has actually vaulted to near the top of the list of “Halloween costumes to wear if you want to get laid on October 31st.” Seriously. I saw three bros do it last year, and all three of them ended up showing some random sl*t the most interesting thing in their pants later that night. If Dos Equis is the secret to this guy's success, then you can count me in.
1. Foster’s: How to Speak Australian
The best of the best. These commercials firmly cement Australia as the place I’d go live, should I ever be so unfortunate to have to leave America. Why? Because Foster’s makes it clear how badass Australia is. In Australia, a girl who goes topl*ss and wears only bikini bottoms at the beach is considered a “prude.” In Australia, a Great White Shark is considered a “Guppy.” I was raised on these commercials, and they made me realize that beer was awesome before I even knew what beer was (even if all Australians will insist that Foster's is swill). It’s a shame that the old classics aren’t on YouTube (only a few of the newer ones are), but anyone who remembers these masterpieces shouldn’t have any problem with them taking the top spot.
What did we leave off? Sound Off in the Comments…