Bringing you up to speed on old school beer spots
Over the Memorial Day weekend, at one of my four jobs, we were doing a "Top 103.7 Songs of Summer" countdown thingamabobber on Kiss FM.
While playing Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina," I thought about his lyrics. You know, the ones where he discussed his dog after ingesting some of the aforementioned "Medina" when he began to beg. We all know what the dog subsequently did to his leg.
In the song, Loc mentions how "every dog in his neighborhood" came to his door. His references to "Spuds MacKenzie" and "Alex from Stroh's" always make me laugh. But then I came to a horrifying realization: for most of the younger set listening to Kiss FM at that moment, these pop culture references went right over their heads.
It dawned on me that many references to old beer commercials haven't been properly communicated to our young people. Why does Bob Uecker joke about sittin' in the "front rowwww?" Frankly, kids need some context. Some of them don't even know Stroh's was a beer.
This is just wrong.
So, without further ado, here's a quick background, primer and refresher on some beer commercials from the 1970s and '80s. It's my duty to help you, young readers / listeners, understand.
To clear up "Funky Cold Medina" first, we'll start with Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light's own "Party Animal" for the late '80s. Spuds, really a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye, partied at the beach, at cookouts, and anywhere else impressionable large-haired '80s females traveling in packs (today's cougars) wanted access to watery brew. Despite the cheesiness of the ads over time, Spuds was hugely popular in the late '80s; Spuds MacKenzie T-shirts were everywhere. But we were all confused back then -- look at some of the clothing and hair styles of the era.
To bring you up to speed, check out some samples.
Here's a good intro spot for Spuds.
And Spuds at the beach.
Spuds doing it up "Texas style."
Alex from Stroh's
Alex was a lesser known, but funnier and less cheesy version of a beer spokesdog. Alex was introduced in a TV ad where he poured a couple of Strohs for his owner. Look here (this is part of a montage... Alex's piece starts at 1:55, ends at 2:21).
This is the only other one I could find, although there were more good ones. Alex does his impressions; it's really good if you're a fan of dogs in old TV shows.
Miller Lite All-Stars
Now, Miller Lite pretty much led them all when it came to beer commercials in the 1980s. A campaign built on the broad shoulders of ex-jocks, writers and comedians, the "Miller Lite All-Stars" became a lovable cast of characters that lasted for much of the decade. They all got along, unless they were debating whether Miller Lite's best quality was "tastes great" or "less filling," a debate repeated among crowds -- especially in colleges -- for years afterward.
The ads helped launch or expand TV, movie and commentator careers for some, including Bubba Smith ("Police Academy"), Dick Butkus ("Johnny Dangerously"), John Madden and, of course, our own Bob Uecker.
We'll start with one of the first ads that made John Madden more visible to millions and helped his future career as an analyst, way pre-dating his "BOOM! Tough-actin' Tinactin" days. This started airing in 1980.
Here's Bob Uecker's most famous ad where he must be down in the "front rowwww."
The camping trip, featuring -- among others -- Bubba Smith (that may have been a trick log, but maybe not), Dick Butkus, Bob Uecker, Ray Nitschke and Rodney Dangerfield.
Here are the Miller Lite All-Stars in their classic softball match. Rodney Dangerfield's pitching the ninth (Trevor Hoffman did not take notes) and Uecker's available as a pinch hitter.
There are tons more you can find on YouTube and probably a few other places. For some of us, it's a fun trip down memory lane, inspiring our beer choices when we were 15 ... er, 21.
I really laugh at the resurrection of the Biz Markie classic "Just a Friend" in the Heineken ad.
Nice job Eric. Gotta give these youngsters some context, them them understand the beer sales techniques and history so's they can appreciate how far the industry has come (or at least give them some great trivia answers).
My favorite, and possibly most horrifying, experience in this area came at a Badger game a few years ago... A friend (8 years younger) commented that he never knew the song the band was playing was called the 'Bud Song' until he read it on the web site. He went on to say he didn't understand where the name came from. I stood there looking at him like he was speaking another language until I realized he had never seen the Budweiser commercials I grew up with that used the same song. I'm pretty sure I aged 5 years right there...
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