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Beer ads have always been a staple of advertising. From the very dawn of marketing, this drink has been enjoying the special attention of marketers and consumers. Not hard enough for prohibitions but not light enough for kid-friendliness, the beer has managed to be in the prime time of major TV events for almost a century. It’s time to have a list of the best beer ads of all time. Here it is.
1. “The Most Interesting Man in The World” – Dos Equis
Why: not every beer ad sparks a whole subsection of memes. Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man” long-running campaign did. While the company can’t show the Budweiser level of advertising impact, it still has a firm place among the most memorable and iconic ad placements of all time. There are even articles on the internet with a collection of quotes from the commercials. That’s how you know that the copywriting was amazing. It’s also about that manly charisma bordering self-deprecation of the leading actor Jonathan Goldsmith that helped The Most Interesting Man in The World ads climb the beer advertising pantheon.
2. “This Bud’s For You” (1979) – Budweiser
Why: raise your glasses to this 1979 American classic. This Bud’s For You commercial is narrated by Lou Rawls and depicts the working class doing their daily jobs. Also, it features probably the tastiest shot of a beer of all time. No, really, that foam going down that glass induces an irresistible urge to have a drink. Fortunately, this bud’s for you and me and everyone really. Cheers!
3. “Budweiser Frogs” (1995) – Budweiser
Why: “It’s damn near 30 years later and I still think about this every once in a while. I was only 7 at the time.” says the top comment on the YouTube video of this legendary ad and you can already feel the impact. Directed by Gore Verbinsky (yes, the one behind The Pirates of the Caribbean), the commercial features puppet frogs named “Bud”, “Weis”, and “Er”. What do they do? They just say their names in the swamp in front of a Budweiser bar. With a running time of just 30 seconds, it has been able to leave a mark on the imagination of the 90s generation and became one of the most recognizable beer ads of all time.
4. “1 Second Ad” (2009) – Miller
Why: here it is in all the beer advertising glory. You watch the Super Bowl in 2009, the ads come and there’s Windell Middlebrooks shouting “High Life” for 1 second and it ends. Wait, what? That’s exactly how the audience felt back then. And that’s exactly why the ad worked and subsequently became one of the most talked about placements of all time. Also, it increased Miller sales by 8.6% so Saatchi & Saatchi’s calculation definitely worked.
5. “Bud Ice Penguin” (1996) – Budweiser
Why: Budweiser has something for animals. And they are able to use them to the full extent in their iconic beer ads. Here’s the one with the penguin. If you grew up in the 90s you might remember them perfectly. A bit creepy, a bit unsettling but in this weird SuperBowl weird ad way, these commercials became a sign of the times. They were shot in a very cinematic manner and always featured that scary damn penguin. But looking back at them now you can’t help but feel the warmth of the better times.
6. “Wassup!” (2000) – Budweiser
Why: nothing more to add here. Just “wassuuuuuuuuuuup!”. Budweiser has made it again. It’s an ad impossible to get out of your head. It’s the ad that transcends the realm of marketing and becomes a part of the real world. It’s a masterpiece of behavioral advertising, the top of tops where the marketer can reach with his vision. Is it annoying? Absolutely. Is it inevitably catchy? That too. You just can’t escape it. You want to fight this desire deep inside you. That strong urge. To say “WASSSSSUUUUUP”.
7. “Brad Pitt ad” (2005) – Heineken
Why: our personal favorite from all beer ads of all time. Because what can be more iconic than a David Fincher-directed Heineken ad with Brad Pitt? It has been relevant in 2005, and it is still relevant in 2023, that’s what star power looks like. Also, it is absolutely flawless, superbly shot, and cool as hell.
The plot is simple. Brad Pitt doesn’t have any Heineken beer left in the fridge. And he wants some, the evening is a lonesome one. What would Brad Pitt do? That’s right, go to the neighborhood store to buy some. The problem? Paparazzis are not sleeping this evening. They want to photograph him. They want it so badly that chasing Pitt becomes a sort of zombie apocalypse. But a helpful neighborhood store employee shows the movie star a back door and Brad calmly walks back to his apartment, Heineken pack in hand. Paparazzi have to wait for another chance.