Not Billie Dee Williams’ Colt 45

Ad Age looks at an age old truth about mature brands. They need to get new customers in the franchise in order to survive.

Talk about a marketing conundrum: Revive Colt 45 malt liquor — once seen as an exploitative product that preyed on the urban poor — as an edgy choice for young hipsters.
But Pabst Brewing Co. is trying to do just that, with a campaign from Seattle boutique Cole & Weber. To appeal to younger drinkers, Cole & Weber tapped graphic novelist Jim Mahfood (author of the volume “Classic 40 Ounce: Tales From the Brown Bag” and a regular contributor to alternative newsweeklies) to create a series of scenes and stories of young adults enjoying themselves with Colt 45. Most of the creative shows 20-somethings flaunting their oversize cans in social settings such as rooftop parties and dance clubs.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.