The world of advertising is a cutthroat one indeed. It’s also a terribly foolish one, wherein ad agencies tend to come up with the worst ideas in order to help clients sell their products. We’ve had Nostradamus sell McDonald’s hamburgers from beyond the grave, heard talking Taco Bell foods brag about their baseball-catching abilities so they can sneak into the game (!), and we’ve even witnessed creepy rodent thingies pushing Quiznos Sub sandwiches. All in the name of the Holy Dollar; and it has always been this way, I’m afraid: a simple glance at a vintage magazine will unveil Philip Morris Cigarettes being compared to the joys of holding a newborn baby, and cops and hippies getting along simply by sharing some Canada Dry Ginger Ale.
And then there are those ads for Beer.
This 1985 comedy — produced by some of the same people who brought us such classics as Rocky and such atrocities as Rocky IV — is a biting satire on the advertising industry present in the early and mid ‘80s, wherein an ad agency desperate to hold onto Norbecker Beer — their biggest client, and run by crazed German (Kenneth Mars) — attempts to brew up the biggest marketing campaign in order to promote . So, ad exec B.D. Tucker (Loretta Swit) partners up with former filmmaker Buzz Beckerman (Rip Torn, sporting a fake beard) and promptly determines the beverage in question needs to be promoted by an everyday working-class American. And then, like a bolt out of the blue, three average Joes (David Alan Grier, William Russ, and Saul Stein) accidentally prevent a lunatic from robbing the bar they’re all in.
Even though their heroic actions are completely unintentional on their part, the three struggling men soon become the biggest sensations in the States, lending their faces and personas to outrageous commercials that wind up being extremely controversial (though they’re relatively tame by today’s terrible ads), to wit Norbecker Beer becomes even more successful. They start out by bailing out the very lunatic (Alan C. Peterson) whose plot they inadvertently foil just so they can “re-enact” their fateful moment together. They cross the line, however, once the producers try to shamelessly exploit a grueling, real life trek through the desert that the boys actually go through when their plane goes down one afternoon while en route to California. It is right then and there that the fun officially stops for our onscreen heroes.