Pils An Asshole

Yesterday, I had a memory flash of a British show that featured filmed inserts of Denis Leary, in black and white, delivering his stand-up to camera, with a junk yard in the background. Apparently, this is from Saturday Zoo, a show I was convinced I had never seen, but now looking at clips of it, it seems I watched almost all of it.

But cut to another late night of insomnia in the mid-1990s, and for some reason I’m watching ITV. And up pops an advert that stops me in my tracks. It’s not the sort of advert you would have expected to see on TV at the time, or even now to be honest, and it was even more incongruous because it was an anti-drink driving campaign made by a beer company.

Have a look, and you’ll see what floored me.

It came as part of Leary’s wider Holsten Pils campaign, and was probably on TV at just the right time of night. It’s a re-working of his single from 1993. Interesting that they’ve ditched his familiar leather jacket for this ad. I think that choice was a good one, it adds to the effect.

Holsten did three series of adverts with Leary, spending £7million on the third batch alone. The whole campaign was directed by Frank Budgen at Paul Weiland Films, for GGT, with ads written by Robert Saville and Jonathan Budds, among others.

Leary is proud of these adverts, as he told the BBC:

I did a campaign for Nike in the States, I did the Holsten Pils in England, and I still do Quaker State in the States. My deal was that I have to use and like the product. And if they ain’t going to be funny, I’m not going to do them. I think they were all funny but the Holsten Pils ones were the best …

BBC Website

Here’s a few more from the campaign, though there are suprisingly few of them online.

And here’s the first of Leary’s appearances on Saturday Zoo. Does anyone know if these were filmed for the show, or if they’ve been bought in from somewhere else?

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