Somewhere in rural Michigan, an apple fell from a tree. It sat on the ground for a long time until it began to ferment. Eventually a young bear came strolling by. The smell of vinegar caught his attention, and soon he had eaten the apple.
Nearby, a little boy was hiding behind an oak tree. He was amused at the sight of the inebriated bruin staggering around the forest. Well, that little boy grew up and moved to New York City and took a job at one of the big adverting agencies where he now hides behind an oak desk.
A man from a well known brewery came to his office one day and asked him if he had any ideas for a new product mascot. Suddenly, the childhood memories came flooding back and…. well, you know the rest…
…Okay, so I made that story up. But do you have a better explanation as to why animals were so often employed to sell alcohol? Many of these animals had never even reached the legal drinking age of 21! Here’s a few examples of what I’m talking about…
Hamm’s Beer – Football
Possibly the most famous and longest running animal pitchman for alcohol is the hapless Hamm’s beer bear. Animated by Art Babbitt.
Schmidt’s Ale – Tiger
These next three spots were directed by Paul Fennell. This one seems to have drawn some inspiration from the Fleischer “Out of the Inkwell” cartoons.
Schmidt’s Ale – Duck Hunt
Listen to the mellow tones of Thurl Ravenscroft as the hunter. Animated by Virgil Ross.
Gunther’s Beer – Bear
Another bear. This time it’s a polar bear cub.
Narragansett Beer – 3 Bears
Still more bears. From Pelican Films.
Old Pro – Swimming
We couldn’t let a post about beer go by without an appearance by The Old Pro and his faithful dog Searchlight (“Bright as a beacon!”) From Playhouse Pictures. Directed by Bill Melendez and animated by Bill Littlejohn. Starring Eddie Mayehoff.
And finally, this sales film may be the ultimate example of the genre as it features a forestful of whiskey cravin’ critters! Produced by Al Stahl and directed by Chad Grothkopf.