The Evolution of Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Beer Advertising

Different countries boast of their own brands of beer. America can finally take pride of its very own Pabst Blue Ribbon. To all you who are too lazy to pronounce the entire name, it also goes by the moniker PBR. It survived competition, and now the company proudly stands tall and proud. If they can stay alive during The Prohibition, then they can survive just about anything.

The Pabst Brewing Company was wise enough to change its marketing strategies. Some of the adverts they placed were ridiculous. In fact, their efforts were sometimes entirely laughable. But hey, don’t be too quick to judge. They had to look for ways to attract customers in a time when alcohol was banned. Suffice to say, Pabst is the Al Capone of the brewing industry. They learned to sneak in ways to get alcohol inside the body. Speakeasy clubs may have even surreptitiously served bottles to their willing victims. As long as the cops didn’t catch them, then they were good as gold.

Pabst Blue Ribbon has been around since 1882. This means that the company has been around for more than a hundred years. They survived the roaring 20s, the gangster era, and a president’s assassination. More importantly, people toasted to this beer when man took his first step on the moon. So rejoice, America. You have something worth celebrating. Gather all your buds and enjoy the bittersweet taste of this beer’s froth. Take a look at how the Pabst Brewing Company survived all these years with some of its most unique advertising efforts:


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Extract Girl

This was released at the time when drugs and alcohol were thought to be elixirs and extracts. Ask a druggie or an alcoholic, they’d probably tell you that alcohol is the best kind of medicine. Pabst Blue Ribbon could cure indigestion. Is that so? Or could it cause one if you didn’t eat enough before consuming bottles of this? But then again, you’d be too numb to even notice anything. So, in a way, it does cure digestion because you’d be too inebriated to notice that dull ache in your belly. What you’re nursing right now is the pounding headache you’ve got.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Come Back To

Take note of the men in suits. This is no longer the cure for your indigestion. In fact, it’s what professionals choose to drink after a long day’s work. Take note of the glasses these men are holding. The beer is meant to be sipped, not chugged. Now, what would these men do when they see how frat boys nowadays drink the draught version upside-down and with a large straw? They’ve certainly cheapened the classy beer that was supposed to be enjoyed like fine wine.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - A Word To The Wise

The Pabst TapaCans were innovative, to say the least. The beer is sealed in an airtight container that was non-refillable and more importantly, it was stackable. This brought new meaning to beer hoarding. All you needed was one corner where you can stack the cans in place. The guests would simply grab one and drink to their heart’s content. This must’ve been the era where beer can bowling started. The drunken guys would stack the empty containers at the bottom of the stairs and would wait for a willing dingbat to knock them off as he slides down the stairs. Suffice to say, the company started a tradition that’s still being practiced until this very day.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - These Sho Am Quality Folks

Let’s head straight to the elephant in the room with this ad. It has a slight racial slur to it. The stereotypes were commonplace back then. More importantly, the ad conveyed that this is what the men from society’s upper crust would order. And who brings them to you? The African American kid who had that trademark slang. This is like the previous ad. Only it involved those rich men who had the ability to pay for servants. Thus, if you drank Pabst Blue Ribbon, then you were certainly one of those folks who could afford just about anything.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - It's A Hit

Baseball was big back in the 40s. In fact, it was so successful that America mourned when it sent half of its men off to war. So, they came up with an all-female baseball league. Now, what would the male audience drink while they immerse themselves watching their favorite sport? Beer, of course. The advert’s main message is that nothing beats a cold can of beer while watching baseball. And even if your team didn’t win, drinking Pabst made you feel like a true winner through and through. This beer, according to the company, is already worth a thousand points.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - This One Has The Touch

This was the company’s first attempt at colored ads. The premise of the poster is in the fact that you’ll know that it’s a Pabst Beer just by taste. You can be blindfolded and you’ll know that you’ve got this well-loved American beer in your hands.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - The Law Sez

Now, the brewing company has extended its product to the masses. Your everyday Tom, Dick, or Harry can enjoy his very own Pabst Beer. The main idea here is how the beer is brewed. It combines 33 different flavors into one amazing beer. The members of the upper crust can finally drink with their servants and no one will think it’s odd. That’s because this beer is for every hot-blooded American.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - This Is The Doctor

This specific campaign ran for a number of years. Each poster honed in on specific members of Ribbon-ville, the fictitious community whose members bore a startling resemblance to a blue ribbon. The point here isn’t weight loss. You won’t be as thin as ribbons when you drink Pabst. Rather, the beer is for every member of society. As long as you’re within the legal drinking age, then you can definitely have a bottle of Pabst.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Hit The Ball

The advertising is clever, to say the least. It appealed to people by using tennis lingo. While other brands kept the mix of their alcohol a secret, Pabst proudly announced to the rest of the world that the Blue Ribbon beer was the merger of 33 unique beer flavors. It may have appealed to sports enthusiasts and fans as well.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Tis A Fine Missus I'm Workin For

Now, don’t let this poster fool you. Pabst Blue Ribbon wasn’t going “highbrow” on its customers once again. In fact, this advert clearly stated that even the servants appreciated the taste of the beer. This lady evidently thought that her employer had good taste.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Happiest Haul Of The Day

Another Pabst ad of the same era. This time, the beer features a fisherman with his best haul of the day: cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. This is the company’s obvious effort to reach out to the middle class folks who appreciate beer just as much as any other man.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Gregory Peck

Pabst clearly recognized the power of using famous actors to promote their beer. Here’s Gregory Peck, drinking a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon. If men drank this very same brand, they may just end up looking like the handsome star himself. Well, at least, here’s to hoping!


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Mr and Mrs Bob Hope

And they add another celebrity into the mix. This is what Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hope drink. You don’t see elegant beer ads like this nowadays. Instead, you see macho men being surrounded by beautiful women while he holds his manly bottle of beer. Why can’t beer companies go vintage and go for posters that are this classy?


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Finest Beer Served Anywhere

Tommy Henrich is a former player for the New York Yankees. Now, the beer has gone beyond the spectator’s point of view and moved on to the athletes themselves. If you want to be a true champion, then you definitely need to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. Unfortunately, certain advocacy groups have spoken against beer companies choosing professional athletes to be their spokesperson. Why? Because athletes lead such regimented lives! They can’t smoke or drink, or at least that’s what they’d like to think. But what exactly do these players do once they win the World Series? You don’t expect them to go home and sleep away their exhaustion. These men are still fueled by adrenaline and would like to celebrate their victory. They have earned the right to get drunk. As for this ad, Tommy Henrich is the only surviving member of the 1938 world champion team. Perhaps the beer is infused with vitamins that have allowed him to live long. We could only surmise that the other players should have followed suit.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Sociable Snacks

Now, the company became smart and appealed to the homemakers themselves. After all, the wives are the ones who go to the grocery. Tell her just how much she’ll please her man if she gets him the Pabst Blue Ribbon. The only strange thing about this ad is the fact that the beer is perfect for bedtime. This should’ve gotten the women irked. After all, how are men supposed to perform their husbandly duties when they’ve had enough libations to send them off to dreamland? Perhaps she should finish a bottle of Pabst herself as well.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Makes It Perfect

With feminism on the rise, Pabst is now appealing to women as well. They can enjoy the bottle as much as any man can. This advert is a big step towards the next era. It’s time to practice equality. The ladies can now get their very own bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon and still look like the sizzling hot woman on this poster.


Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Ads - Always In The Picture

This ad certainly broke barriers. Now, the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer isn’t just for the rich white men. Men, women, white, black, young, or old, can enjoy their very own bottle. It doesn’t matter who you are. You’re just a person with good taste as long as you choose Pabst.

As the 70s approached and the Gen X ruled the public, these print ads slowly waned. Pabst moved on to TV ads. While this isn’t the actual TV advert, this should make the executives consider hiring David Lynch for their next commercial. It makes Pabst Blue Ribbon look macho and tough – exactly how every man wants to feel. Plus, when it comes to making commercials, David Lynch is fearless, quirky, and unbelievably unforgettable. But then again, you shouldn’t expect anything less from a man who’s made quite a few strange movies.


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