The legend is black

You know what it’s like; I can’t be the only one to have experienced this. I was sitting in front of my computer, checking blogs or news stories, and I clicked a link to a YouTube video. I saw another related video in the sidebar that looks interesting, then another, and next thing I know, I’ve fallen down the YouTube Rabbit Hole.

And that’s when I saw this gem:

Man, that took me back. Black Label was my brand of beer from the time I started drinking beer at *cough* years old until sometime 1995 when I stopped drinking for a year.

It occurs to me now that I decided to drink Black Label not for what it was, but for what it wasn’t. And what it wasn’t was popular. Not at all.

I’d been going to parties and bringing Canadian or Blue, because that seemed to be the beer to bring to parties; the ads said so. However, I quickly got tired of bringing a twelve-pack, drinking two or three, and then finding the rest gone when I went for another, stolen by people who either never brought their own beer  or didn’t bring enough.

I switched to Black Label because I could bring a twelve-pack, drink five and still find seven in the fridge at the end of the night. I developed a taste for it. I got teased for drinking the “old man beer”, and responded that no, not even my dad would drink it.

Then I moved to Toronto, and partied in the punk/alternative scene where drinking Black Label was de rigueur. Whoever edited the Wikipedia page said it best:

… the tendency for people in alternative music bars on Queen Street West in Toronto to drink Black Label because it was cheap and as a way to dissociate themselves from mainstream people drinking mainstream beer.

It was short leap to cashing in on this. Advertisers created a series of print and tv ads with the slogan The Legend is Black. Everything was in black and white, with the only splash of colour being the red stripe in the label. It was successful ad campaign, but I’m not sure it helped them in the long run. Many of my friends stopped drinking it. Once something cool is marketed to the uncool, it becomes uncool by association. And so it goes.

I’d forgotten all about Black Label until I saw the YouTube video. When I re-introduced alcohol back into my life, it was with the motto drink less, but better. I started drinking different beers and cocktails. It became about the taste, not the inebriation.

I’d certainly forgotten about the ad campaign. I sat at my computer and watched them all. The Rooftop. The Beatnik. The Motorcycle, Flower Power and Forbidden Planet. While the Catacombs was closest to the scene I was in at the time, I think I liked the Forbidden Planet ad the best with all it’s 50’s pulp sci-fi silliness.

I should try Black Label again. Someday.

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