Carling Black Label – The Canadian Lager Sold by Adventurous Squirrels


Carling is the best-selling lager in the UK. Does that mean its ads were the best as well?

Well, possibly.

In truth the ads are rather simple but effective. Subject of the ad comes into show. Seems pretty normal. Then does something amazing, slightly bonkers, or solves a dilemma. Voiceover comes on, tagline is shown, or character says…

I’ll bet he drinks Carling Black Label.

‘It’s the pint you like, gives you that bit more, it’s Carling Black Label.’

It’s not a million miles from the before and after structure of the Heineken ads. But it gets the message across pretty well, that Carling’s the stuff to be drinking to get your juices flowing.

Wright Collins Rutherford Scott were the agency. 1985 was the year. And the tagline was originally written for a pitch to the Milk Marketing Board and read ‘I’ll bet he drinks a lot of milk’. They didn’t get the account so recycled the line for Carling Black Label – or plain Carling as it’s been known since 1997.

Carling, weirdly enough, is a Canadian brand that’s been sold here since the 50s. And since the late 80s it’s been leading the British beer market with its promise of a fuller flavour than any other lager.

The famous Dambusters ad was shown in 1989, one of several to feature the comedy duo Stephen Frost and Mark Arden. They’re also in the ads that allude to and play on the Old Spice Surfer ad and the Levi’s 501 Laundrette skit.

Some of the series are a bit creaky. But there’s some fun stuff in there too, especially the squirrel doing Mission Impossible…