Monday, 6 May 2013

Old Beer Ads #3 - Boddingtons (1993)

Amazing as it seems now, in the mid-1990s Boddingtons Bitter was the third best selling cask bitter and the best selling canned bitter in the UK.  Such success was mostly built on the success of advertisments like this.  They all had the same basic plot.  30 seconds of some lavishly shot glamorous situations, and then a few seconds revealing it was actually about Mancunians drinking beer.

Personally speaking, and I was only a teenager at the time, I found these commercials appalling.  Looking back, I see them as a typical example of Soho adwankers taking a much-loved regional product and turning it into something to brayingly laugh about over cocktails in a poncy central London bar.  Parodies of contemporary ads may have made their fellow "creatives" applaud at the next workshop, but for those who can't grasp the intent, it's alienating and patronising.  I, and many other Northwesterners, would have gladly responded to such "affectionate ribbing" by demolishing the brewery at Strangeways ourselves.

It took another 14 years, but the charming fellows at AB-Inbev did it for us.  Boddies time in the sun was short, and the brand slowly tanked after it fell out the fashion these ads expensively promoted.  The can and keg stuff is still made at an enormous beer factory (I hesitate to call it a "brewery", myself) near the M6, but cask Boddingtons is long gone.

I have not seen it on either a font or handpump for nigh on a decade.  Surely somebody knows where the Boddies is buried?


  1. You still see the keg stuff around. In fact, the other night I was in a pub where someone said "you don't see keg Boddies around much nowadays" and I pointed out the font on the bar ;-)

  2. Maybe it's a Greater Manchester thing. Every pub around here I've been in that does keg bitter either Tetley's or John Smiths. Even the two ex-Boddies pubs (The Old Black Bull, Preston and The Plough, Galgate) don't have it.