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Controversial Moments in Beer Advertising

Beer has always been at the forefront of controversy, which wouldn’t happen if all the PC complainers threw back a few before getting all pissy. Still, some moments go too far for any respectable drinker. From Neatorama:

Old Milwaukee “Swedish Bikini Team”

In the early 90s, Old Milwaukee decided to compete with the imports by inventing the Old Milwaukee Swedish Bikini Team.

The ad features a bunch of guys out fishing and being manly men and they think that it just can’t get any better. And then, of course, the Swedish Bikini Team shows up wearing spandex, cans and six-packs of Old Milwaukee parachute in, and the camera pans in on lots of jiggling boobs.

The ad triggered a sexual harassment suit by five members of the Stroh Brewery who said that the ads perpetuated an environment of verbal and physical abuse that had been going on since the mid 80s anyway.

You can tell it really scared the company – shortly thereafter, the “bikini team” was featured in Playboy For your viewing pleasure…

Miller “Beachin’ Times”

In 1989, Miller ruffled more than a few feathers with a 16-page pamphlet distributed in 55 college newspapers across the country. Called “Beachin’ Times,” it instructed college students on how to get drunk and pick up babes.

One such gem includes a piece on “Lite Beer Pro Beach Volleyball” which asked readers to “Name something you can dink, bump, and poke. Hint – it’s not a babe.” You can tell it was 1989 because the pamphlet is liberally peppered with “babe” references – another section was called “Four Sure-Fire Ways to Scam Babes.” I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally hearing Jeff Spicoli in my head. Even college students were offended – groups of students at two universities organized protests and threatened to boycott Miller, which was enough to scare the company into an apology.

They sent letters with the headline “We Blew It” to all 55 student newspapers the pamphlet had appeared in.

It didn’t impress some people, though – the University of Iowa’s Daily Iowan ran an opinion column that compared the apology to after-the-fact birth control – “It might make you feel better, but it doesn’t do a damn bit of good.”

More Controversial Moments in Beer Advertising at Neatorama.