Vintage Beer Ads: Blatz Edition

Any brewery that has been around for more than 50 years has probably done some advertising that in today’s culture would be seen as odd, uncouth or even criminal. I think it’s hilarious, so I’ve decided to bring it to you here. Today’s subject is Blatz.

Blatz is a Milwaukee-based beer that has been around since 1851, and while none of their vintage slogans include “Get Blatzed” (I don’t know how they overlooked such obvious marketing genius), they do have one pretty infamous ad that a lot of you may have seen before, so we might as well start there.


Yep, you read that right, drinking a case of beer will enhance the nourishing qualities of your breast milk and give you a healthier baby! Plus you reap the benefits of this “appetizing, stimulating tonic”. I have to admit I’ve gotten pretty “stimulated” off of a case of beer before, but not usually while I was caring for a newborn. This ad might be the most well-known, but it’s not the only ad Blatz ran regarding its wonderful health benefits.


In this ad they quote “The Voice of Reason”, and he tells us that we need to drink Blatz if we want to be healthy and content. I just want to know how they were able to get an interview with The Voice of Reason (since he was directly quoted). He’s such a busy guy with his crusades to have us “cover our mouth when we sneeze”, “have our pets spayed or neutered” and “always put bros before hoes”, that I’m really surprised they were able to nail him down. I wonder what The Voice of Reason would say about this next ad…


Instead of waiting to get the nutritional benefits into your children through your breast milk, why not skip a step and just give them the beer directly? After all, Blatz is a wholesome beverage “for the family”, and if you don’t think that’s what they meant, just look at who they sent to the liquor store to pick up all the beer. That same little girl coming home with the baskets full of Blatz was used in multiple Blatz ads during this time period (I guess they weren’t that strict about checking IDs back then). She must have an awesome appetite and great digestive health. What other benefits might be contained in this wonder-tonic?


Now we’re really cookin’ with gas! Blatz Beer doesn’t just supply nourishment, it is a “mild stimulant for tired bodies and fatigued minds”. Of course! Nothing perks me up when I’m physically and mentally exhausted like a cold beer. I don’t know how Red Bull and Monster stay in business with such stiff competition. In fact, Blatz goes as far as to say that their beer is “invaluable to brain workers”, which is a great phrase you don’t often associate with alcoholic beverages. It is not the best phrase in this ad, however. My favorite is “liquid food value”, which I’m definitely going to use in the future. The next time my boss comes in the lunch room and sees me tossing back a few cold ones at noontime, I’m going to explain to him that I’m not drinking on the job, I’m consuming the liquid food value of the beer, and that he should appreciate my commitment to excellence since I’m one of his most important “brain workers”.

At some point Blatz stopped pushing the health benefits of their beer and just started to rely on celebrity spokespeople, like every other beer company. Here we see Liberace:


My first instinct is to think this ad is disingenuous, considering Liberace’s taste for the finer things, I doubt he was slugging back much Blatz beer. However, upon closer inspection, Liberace is just saying that Blatz is Milwaukee’s favorite beer and he knows that because he’s from there. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, as he never says he likes it or even drinks it for that matter. That Liberace was always sly, like a fox!  I should try that tactic in the future if I’m ever asked to endorse a product I don’t care for. “Deep fried Twinkies are the deep south’s favorite circus/fair/carnival treat, and I ought to know, I’ve been there!”


Then came a long running series of ads that featured the following gentlemen:


This ad campaign featured print ads, posters, memorabilia, point-of-sale displays, in-store merchandise, etc.


All I have to say is, “What the hell happened to these guys?”. Are they the result of some Human Beeripede experiment gone wrong, or an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entitled “Secret of the Booze Ooze” that hit the cutting room floor? I feel the most sympathy for the bottle guy, because living your life with a barrel or can body is doable, but that bottle guy must need constant chiropractic care. Just look at his neck for heaven’s sake! The worst thing is, even though it’s not their fault, these character also come of as “creepy” in a “weird uncle you won’t leave your children alone with” kinda way.

This last ad brings us full circle from Blatz trumpeting their benefits to this:


I think it’s safe to say that I’d like to engage in none of the shenanigans being portrayed at this fraternity house. If that is what’s going to ensue after I “Tappa Kegga Blatz”, I’d just assume leave it untapped. Do these look like the antics of America’s finest “brain workers”? The tagline of this ad might as well read, “The perfect beer for funneling while drunk frat boys cheer you on and some underage cheerleader pukes in the corner”. How did we go from “An honest wholesome beverage for the family” to “The beer that John Belushi drank on the set of Animal House, and I ought to know, I’m his liver”?