I like booze, because it's big and clever. Now I'm a grown up, and have decided which tipples I prefer, it's become easier for me to tune out the cacophony of alcohol advertising that tries to enter my brain via my eyes and ears. Not so when I was a nipper. The TV ad breaks (not the ones during things like Rainbow, obviously) were awash with strange adverts for mysterious drinks, and all you knew about them was that they were somehow different from pop.
Booze adverts back then were fascinating – they were obscure enough to make me wonder what that strange new product was, and why I never got to have any. Nowadays (Smirnoff, Famous Grouse etc aside) a lot of booze adverts just show you the booze. In a glass. Which is the last thing you want to see when you have a hangover.
Here are some adverts I remember fondly for being funny, or bizarre, or just downright good -
What happened to Skol? Can you even get it any more? A quick Google search shows you can, albeit mostly in Brazil, where it is the country's number one lager.
Over here, Skol was marketed as a rowdy Danish/Swedish/Norweigan/foreign lager that was drunk by a load of singing cartoon vikings (one of whom was Hagar The Horrible). Anyone who has seen the advert remembers the song. All together now -
Skol skol skol skol skol skol skol skol skol (continue x 42).
I used to get a 4 pack of Babycham every Christmas, until my dad realised I didn't really like it. I used to think it was the same as Lambrini, and then I found out it's actually 'sparkling perry'. Then I found out that Lambrini is sparkling perry too. You win some, you lose some.
This advert was very odd. Not creepy odd, just 'ooh, look at that guy' odd. I think it's meant to be what happens inside a Babycham bottle. Or possibly when you get to the bottom of one. Also, the guy singing sounds like Otto from The Simpsons. Possibly that's not deliberate.
Ah, the holy duo. Never ever seen separately, apart from nowadays, since Mirage is no more. And the world is the poorer for it. Taboo without Mirage is like Cannon without Ball – you'd get people going 'oh, whatever happened to them?' before going back to not giving a fuck and/or their knitting.
I never had Mirage, but I do know that Taboo and lemonade tastes just like jelly babies.
I think the reason Taboo survived and Mirage didn't is because human beings are inherently naughty. We like the idea of drinking liquid hedonism, but not the idea of drinking something a nun would approve of. We get enough goody two shoes stuff rammed down our throats without having to drink it too, thank you very much. This is expertly shown in the advert – the woman drinking Taboo is obviously having a more interesting time, and she's probably off to fuck the barman in a minute.
I was originally going to talk about the advert where the bird hypnotises some dude into coming over and opening a pickle jar for her, but I found out that advert was from 2000, not the early 90s like I originally thought. Oh God, I'm old. I have no sense of temporal awareness any more. Soon I'll be forgetting why I walked into a room, or not going out because I need to 'rest my bones'. Mind you, I do that already.
Instead, I'm going to show you the actual 80s Tia Maria ad, featuring a woman with a stripey face -
Bonus advert – Guinness – featuring GEOFFREY!
LOOK! LOOK! IT'S GEOFFREY HAYES!
That is all.