As far as archeological and anthropological records can tell, beer was first regularly produced and consumed by the Ancient Egyptians, starting some 6,000 years ago. This is further proof – and arguably the best proof of all – of how advanced the Egyptians were.
It would take thousands of years for beer to become a truly global beverage, with its foamy heyday beginning with mass production in the 19th century. Aside from being a wonderful beverage in its own right, beer has also spawned one of the finest art forms the world has ever seen. We are speaking, of course, about the Beer Commercial.
And just as the world’s finest beverage lead inexorably to the world’s greatest commercials, the cream of the heady crop of beer commercials debut annually during the biggest night in television/sports, the NFL’s crown jewel, the Super Bowl!
Join us, if you will, for a brief walk down memory lane as we reflect on some of the “finest” beer commercials from each of the past five decades, many of which were featured during the Big Game. One thing you might notice… things change over fifty-odd years. Oh boy, do they change…
First off, here are two beer commercials from the 1960s. You might notice how the first one has the distinct quality of being what critics call “terrible”:
And then there’s this 60s ad, which is rather amazing.
Now let’s move on to the 1970s. It was during this decade that the advertising executives at the various beer companies seemed to look at one another, slap their foreheads, and exclaim “Holy S–t! Lots of people watch the Super Bowl? We should show beer commercials during the game!”
Yes, the era of sometimes amazing, sometimes totally misguided, but at least generally memorable beer commercials debuting during the game had begun! Which do you think this first selection exemplifies? (Here’s a hint: a man wandering into a pickup basketball game accompanied by a bear is a good thing.)
In the 1980s, things got a bit weird at times – anyone who remember the decade will tell you that. It started off pretty well, what with The Empire Strikes Back and U2’s album “Joshua Tree” provided a bit of mid-decade pleasantness, but we also had to content with the likes of this guy.
As for the Super Bowl beer commercials? Well, see what you think about the 80s’ take on beer advertisement:
What the hell is going on in that bowling alley, huh? Those folks need to calm the hell down. (Also, when you recruit Rodney Dangerfield as your team’s anchor, you pretty much guarantee wacky failure.)
To be fair to the decade, it also gave us this ad, which is excellent:
In the 1990s, the Super Bowl beer commercial as we know it today finally came of age. I’ll let these examples speak for themselves. Plus, chances are you remember them all anyway.
By the 2000s, (We hate the term “aughts”; it’s just… stupid sounding), the formulas were well ingrained, and the beer commercials of that decade’s Super Bowls, numbers XXXIV through XLIII, looked much the same as what you’ll see on 2/3/13. See?
So there you have it, folks. From strange, hardly sensible commercials that were basically unrelated to the actual qualities of the beer being advertised, fifty years later to… wait a second; our initial hypothesis might be a bit off here…