It may be difficult to believe now, but there was once a time when people appreciated Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in a non-ironic fashion. That was around 1979, evidently, when this ad featuring a catchy faux-Bee Gees tune and a fresh-faced young Patrick Swayze hit the airwaves.
Meanwhile, this version of the same campaign targeted at black consumers has superior music, but no dancing.
Wondering what’s happened to the PBR brand since then, and why urban hipsters came to love it so? Check out this Bloomberg BusinessWeek article from last fall about the brand’s new owners and its history. The beer became a counterculture icon because the company’s former owner slashed the ad budget in the mid-’80s, leaving young consumers with no preconceived, marketer-designed ideas of what the brand should be. And making it cheap.
Pabst Blue Ribbon commercial – 1979 – starring Patrick Swayze [YouTube] (Thanks, Maura!)
Keeping Pabst Blue Ribbon Cool [BusinessWeek]