A Toast To Dick

PIctured above: An advertising genius... and one green knit hat away from a member of the Monkees.

PIctured above: An advertising genius… and one green knit hat away from a member of the Monkees.

On January 12, 1997, like most other sports fans in the US, I was watching the NFC Championship game on Fox between the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.  At some point during that game, a one minute ad for Miller Lite beer came on.  Little did I realize at the time that I was witnessing the genesis of what is literally one of my favorite forgotten ad campaigns of all time….

That was the very first of what would be many ads Miller Lite would use in their “Miller tuesday tvTime Ads By Dick” series over the next couple years.  The story behind their creation was just as messed up and bizarre as the actual commercials themselves were.  Miller Lite supposedly hired this guy named Dick (Cue the Beavis & Butthead retort) whose photo was ripped from an early 1970’s high school yearbook.  They gave him a six pack of Miller Lite and some other form of enticement that varied in each of the early spots, and he came up with the wacky commercials for “Miller Time”.  The Miller Time screen shot would then appear at the beginning and end of the commercial itself.  After the first handful of ads, the entire Dick preamble was removed entirely, but each spot still began and ended with the Miller Time screen so you knew you were watching a genuine ad created by Dick!

Hooray for beer!

Hooray for beer!

While the whole ridiculousness of the cooked up story behind these ads was classic enough, what really made this one of my favorite beer commercial campaigns of all time were the actual ads themselves.  The ads always started off pretty innocuously, maybe venturing into slight oddness… but really nothing all too out of the ordinary.  But the payoff always came at the end of the ad, and it was usually something pretty clever and unexpected.  In the debut ad I showed above, we see this strange man walking through a tall field… kinda lost.  When he gets to a clearing in the field, we can see that….. he isn’t wearing any pants!  Ha, ha, ha Dick!!!  That was hilarious!

tom cruise

Pants are overrated anyway.

While I liked the twist of the first ad, it was the second spot that was my all time favorite Dick ad…

OMG!  They were all getting up to go to the bathroom!!!  That’s so fucking hilarious, I nearly pissed my pants!

Here's a concept for Dick...

Here’s a concept for Dick…

OK, maybe I was the only one who found these spots to be funny, because sadly, my experience has been that the Miller Time Dick ads are largely forgotten by people today.  And it seems that the best remembered commercial of the entire campaign was the one that bridged the gap between the early spots (where the Dick story is given beforehand) and the later ads where all mentions of Dick himself are eliminated….

“Twist To Open” was definitely one of the more genius ideas in this series, but alas, it was one of the few spots from the post-Dick era that managed to capture the magic of the early ads.  Within two years of bursting onto the scene, Dick had aired his last ad for Miller Lite.  Perhaps they should have given him another six pack and some more glue to huff…

Protesters

What’s this Dick crap!?!? Bring back Kool Aid Man!!!

If you really want to overdose yourself on Dick Miller Time, here are some more commercials from the series that I was able to find on YouTube:

The Magician

I Can’t Control My Arm!

Evil Beaver (OMG!  I forgot how hilarious the pegleg scene is!!!)

Killer Tumbleweeds

Cupid (Another later ad that was very much like classic Dick!)

The Wrestlers

The Seance

Sideways

Robot Love

Product Testing

Making Out (Very classic Dick!!!!)

And before I sign off on this post, I learned something while researching this campaign that actually gives the Dick campaign an 80’s connection!  The commercials were directed by Gerald Casale, better known as one of the members of the band Devo!  So now we know who the creative genius behind these ads really was…..

Break your mama's back!

Break your mama’s back!

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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15 Responses to A Toast To Dick

  1. pantherbutts says:

    informative … intuitive … silly … perfect …

  2. The Cutter says:

    Those Dick ads were weird. I thought some were funny, but (like most of America apparently) I didn’t “get” most of them.

    • Yeah, I think they were an acquired taste, and they just happened to fit my love of very warped humor. But even I think once they started adding the made up songs and getting crazy from the get-go, they really started going to hell….

  3. merbear74 says:

    So Kool Aid man and Devo walked into a bar…. 😉

  4. PigLove says:

    Those are so hiliarous! Mom says she doesn’t remember them but dad does. He was laughing so hard at these!! XOXO – Bacon

  5. Her Majesty says:

    Dammit, I was hoping this would be a Trickle Eulogy. He who brought so much joy to the world and asked for so little in return….

    However, I’d totally forgotten about Ads by Dick so that was a fun trip down a forgotten turn on Memory Lane!

  6. These were sooo funny. Aussies are lucky because we have the inbuilt ability to “get” American, British and Australian brands of humour. I thought the Dick ads were a bit “Pythonish” with their unexpected and irreverent content. What ever, they were really funny. My favourites were the cupid and the “second spot one” thanks for the laughs Evil Squirrel. 🙂

  7. kefkaroth says:

    man it wouldve been awesome if dick kept doing these. now if i can only find the questionaire one and the rabid fan series my dick collection will be complete

    • It’s been a couple years since I scoured YouTube for the commercials I linked to here, so someone may have uploaded some others by now. Dick was truly one of the most underappreciated advertising series of all time…

  8. Nate says:

    Thanks for creating this page. Undoubtedly a brilliant ad campaign that was ahead of its time. As a drummer, my personal favorite was “I Can’t Control my Arm!”.

    Cheers and happy Miller Time!

    Nate

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