If old commercials offer a window into our past, showing how we lived, worked and played, old beer commercials show what we were like after a few cold ones. Some of the most famous advertising campaigns in TV history featured beer. Think of the Miller Lite ‘Tastes Great! — Less Filling!” ads starring retired athletes, or all the Budweiser commercials with the famous Clydesdales. We’ve rounded up a few strange beer commercials that predate those classic ads. Those were different times, to be sure.
10. Schlitz (1967)
You were thinking those are flowers in the box with the ribbon. No — it’s a case of Schlitz! Schlitz became the best-selling beer in the U.S. in the late 1940s before being overtaken by Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser as the No. 1 brew in 1957.
9. Ballantine’s Ale (1950s)
There’s some creepy animation here, especially the bartender with the twitchy moustache (just over 30 seconds into the video). Ballantine’s Ale was very popular in the 1950s, but the family-owned company founded in 1840 went into decline and Falstaff Brewing Corp. purchased it in 1972.
8. Busch (1960s)
Fred and Barney sit back and enjoy a cold one. This is described as a promotional video for Anheuser-Busch employees. Instead, it looks like the strangest episode ever of the Flintstones.
7. Pabst Blue Ribbon (1950s)
So this guy is looking to order a beer that will help him “romance the waitress?” We’ll bet the waitress is working to pay her bills, not get harassed by drinking customers.
6. Miller (1950s)
What’s with the weird voiceover at the beginning of the ad? And remember when people only drank beer from a glass at parties?
5. Budweiser (1956)
We’d bet the house that this is the only beer commercial in history prominently starring a flute player. That tagline at the end of the commercial, “Where there’s life, there’s Bud,” is really lame, especially compared to the many classic lines in Budweiser history.
4. Carling Black Label (1950s)
What could be better than kicking back in the hammock after a hard day at work with a pipe and a Carling Black Label beer? As seen in this and many other beer commercials from that era, it seems the best thing a wife could do for her husband was bring him a cold beer or two when he got home.
3. Pabst Blue Ribbon (1950s)
It seems impossible that all these people, dressed in their suits and dresses, could be swaying and singing like that at the end of the commercial without sloshing beer all over themselves. That takes a special kind of talent.
2. Hamm’s (1950s)
The Hamm’s Bear became a cultural icon in the 1950s and ’60s, thanks to the company’s heavy advertising during sporting events. And it’s widely regarded as one of the best advertising campaigns of the 20th century. Still, a klutzy cartoon bear pitching beer is worth watching.
1. Colt 45 Malt Liquor (1960s)
Apparently, the angry bull was supposed to charge at the man and table and miss. Instead, the bull almost killed the poor stuntman — so hey, let’s leave the accident in the final commercial!