Now I am a Northerner from way back. Not in the sense that I have always lived in theiInner northern suburbs of Melbourne (although I might pretend I do) but rather that I was born into a North Melbourne Football Club supporting family.
When I was young boy growing up on the Hutt River in New Zealand I was told of the heroic exploits of the great North Melbourne teams of the 1970’s. A time when this mighty club played in five consecutive grand finals. We had photos of the premiership teams on the 1970’s in our garage. I remember marvelling at the moustaches on Malcolm blight, and Brent Crosswell (it should be noted that the 1975 premiership team involved 10 players with ‘tache, plus Ron Barassi coach extraordinaire, with that many ‘taches how could they lose), and the enormous girth of Mick Nolan. Each of these players had a little red rooster on their jumper. North’s sponsor? Courage Brewery.
In one of the pioneering sponsorships on the VFL/AFL all the players wore snazzy dressing gowns with ‘North Have Courage’ write large across the back (Many years later I would make my own North have Courage t-Shirt).
So let’s more this history lesson from North Melbourne to Courage Breweries. Courage were a English brewery who in the mid sixities decided to take on the might of CUB. Given you most likely don’t remember them, you can take a guess at how it turned out for them.
But they gave it a crack and we should be thankful for that. In fact it is argued that it was in response to this challenge that CUB started television advertising – so you could argue that Courage have given us such classics as Vic Bitter’s heard earned thirst, as well as the brilliant Abbots Lager ad we have reviewed previously.
But what did courage do apart from stitching some letters onto the back of some dressing gowns? Well they produced this little gem…
There is just one more lesson from history in this ad. The suggestion that ‘The local is changing for the better’ which it would have been given the ‘six o’clock swill was now a thing of the past, and the pub as we know it today, revolving around music and food (but thankfully not bookies) was starting to roll out across the suburbs.
But then it’s time to get down to the selling. Courage Crest lager was ‘Brewed for Men’ not the best slogan I’ve ever heard, but let’s face not truckloads away from the real man’s beer positions still trotted out nowadays, although the dainty glasses don’t seem too manly to me. Then there is the sounds good but means nothing claim “The only lager on tap with a taste bigger than any other lager’
This ad ran in ‘TV Ringside’ which is a program any Melbourne male over the age of sixty will bang on about (my dad included). As you can see Courage had some good media buyers (which was before media buyers were invented so it just proves how useless we are) as they had some program integration going on. The live read is nice, the strange homo erotic rubbing on the boxers by guys with huge sideburns is strange.