The search for genuine American weirdness. To look for manifest destiny under all the rocks, roadside billboards and backwoods of the cultural bi-ways. The new series of Will Ferrell ads for Old Milwaukee is a case in point of combing American mythology from Melville, and Hawthorne up to the troubadours of American music into a retro chic appeal for the old America, the ragged glory. It plays on the marrying the old with the quirky, edgy tradition of Richard Brautigan in a similar template that Heckler and Associates achieved with an equally moribund low quality beer in the 1970′s with Rainier; equally infamously not well liked or very good for that matter.
The sound of the saws could
be heard most of the time and when there
was darkness trash burners glowed red
against the sky. We did not have a father
and our mother had to work very hard.
My sister and I got our spending money
by gathering beer bottles that had been
thrown along the highway or left around
the sawmills. At first we carried the
bottles in gunny sacks and cardboard boxes
but later we found an old baby buggy
and we used that to carry our bottles in.
We took the bottles to a grocery store
and were paid a penny for small beer bottles
and two cents for large ones. On almost
any day we could be seen pushing our baby
buggy along the highway looking
for beer bottles. ( Richard Brautigan )
…According to reports, Ferrell pitched the Pabst Brewing Company the idea himself, and agreed to do the spots unpaid on the condition that they aired locally. In the ads, he lampoons his status as a Hollywood celebrity while fishing in the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa and drinking a can of his favorite brew.
…He also engages in hand fishing for a “little piece of America,” and extolls the virtues of Davenport as an “Old Milwaukee kind of town” … one letter at a time. Read more celebrity gossip at: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2011/12/will-ferrell-old-milwaukee-ads-folksy-funny/#ixzz1ixXblomm
The 165-year-old Pabst Brewing Company – which owns 32 brands, including Schlitz, Colt 45, Lone Star and Old Style – actually is a misnomer, since it no longer owns its own brewery. (It contracts with others, including MillerCoors.) Pabst was established in Milwaukee in 1844, earned its “blue ribbon” status at the World’s Fair in 1893 – but shut down its last Milwaukee brewery in 1996….
…The company was bought in 1985 by beer tycoon Paul Kalmanovitz, who died in 1987. Pabst was left to the charitable foundation following the death of his widow. The IRS has repeatedly declared since 1996 that the foundation couldn’t own a for-profit business and set a 2010 deadline for the sale, according to Beer Business Daily.
According to Ad Age, Pabst Blue Ribbon posted gains in the four weeks that ended May 16 – while Bud Light, Coors and Miller Lite all declined. (Just four of the top 30 beer brands showed upticks at the beginning of their crucial selling season.) It’s good news for the brand that once was one of America’s most popular beers – sales peaked in 1977 with sales of 18 million barrels per year, and bottomed out in 2001 with just 1 million barrels sold….
Its trying to achieve a meditation on the sublime, cultural phenomenons that mutate and try to evoke something beyond language, yet within a grammatical context. Something like language but as a language of the fragment, an in-between indicated by absence and in the case of excessive drinking the modernist theme, like Rimbaud, of self-destruction and redemption. Redemption through sin as acceptable discourse within the society of dissent. Like the sublime, this fragment hits us and leaves us thinking about something which transcends the advertisement and marks our identity in evolution.