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Liquid Crack: “It works every time”

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In the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, black entertainers made considerable sums of money selling ghetto wine and malt liquor to their less fortunate brothers and sisters. “Liquid crack” was dirt cheap and fortified with alcohol and shitloads of sugar to get you higher faster. As Billy Dee Williams said in his TV pitch for Colt 45, “It works every time.”

40-ounce warriors were macho, sexy and hip…at least that’s what the commercials wanted the black community to think. The reality was much more grim. Malt liquors like Schlitz, Colt 45, Olde English 800, St. Ides, King Cobra and bum wines like Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose were responsible for an increase in alcoholism, violence and crime in black neighborhoods. High alcohol content and the cost of a bottle being under two bucks was a deadly combination. Add to that the veneer of coolness that Kool and the Gang, Fred Williamson, Biggie Smalls and Snoop Dog brought to the mix and you got a problem that went viral.  

Nowadays, low-rent white hipsters drink the poisonous piss in order to give them some kind of street cred while hip-hop artists have moved on to Cristal and Dom. But the high-end shit hasn’t trickled down to Skid Row yet.

While the product sold was crap for sure, the ads themselves are fascinating time capsules, some sending signals that are incredibly politically incorrect: making light of drunk driving, intimating that women will give it up after a few drinks, and using racial stereotypes that border on Stepin Fetchit caricature. And Blacks weren’t the only ones denigrated—check out the East Indian guy in the “Gunga Din” Colt 45 commercial below.

There’s also an interesting clip of Johnny Cannon wielding a Colt 45 pistol and a can of Colt 45 beer. A wise combination, don’t you think? Johnny’s expression of disgust as he guzzles the malt liquor is priceless.

Then I ask a question you brother
What the fuck is you drinkin’
He don’t know but it flow
Out the bottle in a cup
He call it gettin’ fucked up
Like we ain’t fucked up already
See the man they call Crazy Eddie
Liquor man with the bottle in his hand
He give the liquor man ten to begin
Wit’ no change and he run
To get his brains rearranged
Serve it to the home they’re able
To do without a table
Beside what’s inside ain’t on the label
They drink it thinkin’ it’s good
But they don’t sell the shit in the white neighborhood

—Public Enemy, “1 Million Bottlebags”
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Is Verizon TV commercial using torture imagery to sell the Droid X?

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This TV commercial for the Verizon Droid X has an unsettling similarity to the infamous torture photo that came out of Abu Ghraib. Is this an unfortunate coincidence or is Verizon actually making some kind of sick joke? Whatever the case, I’m shocked that anyone would sign off on this ad. Was the ad agency who created it blind, clueless or deliberately mocking a dark moment in this country’s history? What do you think?

Nxtiak made a video of the commercial recording it directly from a television screen.

 
Via Gizmodo

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Mandingo Redux’ brought to you by Thunderbird Wine

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Thunderbird is the crack cocaine of wines. It’s fortified with additional alcohol to get you drunk quicker. If you drink enough of the swill it will turn your tongue black, incinerate your gut and napalm your liver. The Gallo Wine Co. designed their firewater with the ghetto in mind. Their radio ads featured a song with a proto-rap vibe, “What’s the word? / Thunderbird / How’s it sold? / Good and cold / What’s the jive? / Bird’s alive / What’s the price? / Thirty twice.”  It is said that…

Ernest Gallo once drove through a tough, inner city neighborhood and pulled over when he saw a bum. When Gallo rolled down his window and called out, “What’s the word?” the immediate answer from the bum was, “Thunderbird.

In a move that seems almost surreal, actor James Mason was recruited by Gallo to pitch its poverty punch. He was given a Rolls Royce as payment. Years later, Mason went on to star as a vicious slave owner in the soft-core blaxploitation potboiler Mandingo. Thunderbird shill to sleazoid slave owner ain’t much of a stretch character wise and probably didn’t earn him any dividends in the karma department.

The first ad in the following video tries to glamorize Thunderbird as a sexy, hip and happening cocktail for young stylish Blacks. The second is Mason trying to keep a straight face as he describes Thunderbird as “not quite like anything I’ve ever tasted.’

Apparently James had never drunk gasoline.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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And now a word from our sponsor: Presenting Alienware’s Latest Laptops
08.24.2010
05:43 pm

Topics:
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Alienware

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Every once in a while, when you’re not trying to teach yourself heavy metal yodeling or trying to figure out what it is that is so captivating about Johnny Rotten in a poorly-made Italian police drama from the 1980s, you might find yourself eager to kick back with a quick bout of gaming. Something immersive, so you can dive in, shoot a few death rays and forget that you’ll never, ever be as cool as Mick Farren.

Alienware’s new laptop offerings are packed with enough power to handle the most intense gaming sessions, but work just as well for listening to Dangerous Minds Radio. The M11x won the Best in CES 2010 award for gaming, supercharging its diminutive frame with great graphics capabilities. The M15x, a step above, packs the same level of power into a comfortable 15’’ screen. Lastly, the M17x is maxed out with the most powerful processors around to ensure you can keep blasting away in the heat of the moment.

For more information, click here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Nasty TV ad depicts body artist as HIV carrier

 
Warning: this ad is toxic.

Created by the German advertising agency Zeitsprung, this extremely nasty public service announcement depicts HIV in the form of a body modification artist. Yeah, guys with tattoos and earrings and bumps on their heads should be avoided at all costs when it comes to hugs. They might be HIV positive. But big white cuddly bears are okay. You already knew that, right?

Since when has HIV been transmitted through hugging?

The ad is worthless, or at best confusing, as information and propagates an ugly stereotype about people who look different than the average guy on the street.

The message to wear condoms gets lost in the ad’s horror movie shock effect.

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Brad Laner Natural Selections LP released today
08.24.2010
11:45 am

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Kooks
Music

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Brad Laner
Natural Selections

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I’ve spent so much time with this record already, I nearly forgot that this is the day it officially makes its way into the world. Be kind, world ! Actually folks have been extremely kind so far. Prefix mag via KCRW posted up a lovely piece yesterday and there’s a podcast with songs from my shady past and present as well as a pretty good and casual phone interview at Most People Are DJs. And of course, as you doubtless already know due to that flashing ad down there, you can buy your own CD or colored vinyl LP (see above) directly from my superb label, Hometapes.
 

Brad Laner - Eyes Close from Josh Laner on Vimeo.

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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Future currency: redesigning the American dollar
08.17.2010
02:36 pm

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money
Duncan Dowling

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Duncan Dowling has come up with some stylish concepts for redesigning American dollars. The vertical layout makes the money easier to handle because that’s the way paper currency is exchanged between people and machines.
You can read more about the project at Dowling’s website.

We have submitted a design concept to a competition being run by New York designer Richard Smith. The Dollar ReDe$ign Project hopes to bring about change for everyone. We want to rebrand the US Dollar, rebuild financial confidence and revive our failing economy.

 
More bucks after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Billboard coupons: visual pollution that earns you beer money

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James Ready Beer has created one very cool ad campaign. In an effort to save their customers money so they can afford to buy more James Ready Beer the brewery created billboard coupons.

By partnering with local retailers, we created a program that allowed people to take a picture of our billboard, show the picture to the corresponding retailer and receive savings on selected products and services. Saving money meant more beer money.

 
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Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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We wanna be ‘liked’ by you… boop boopy doop
08.02.2010
04:27 pm

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Dangerous Minds

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Do you “like” us? I mean do you really like us? Then become our Facebook friend and we can pal around in cyber-space!

You can also follow us on Twitter. The main DM Twitter feed is here, Brad Laner’s Twitter feed is here and mine can be found here.

Friend us, follow us, like us!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Do not read this post unless you have a high IQ and are good looking
05.28.2010
11:24 am

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Dear Dangerous Mind reader,

Now that I have your attention, can we talk? You know us, but we really don’t know who you are. Yet.

Would you mind, please, taking a minute to fill out our short questionnaire? Our advertising sales agency, Largetail would like to get an idea of who Dangerous Minds readers are and, frankly, when they’re out there selling advertising for us, it’s handy for them to be armed with information like “76% of DM readers bought a DVD in the past year” or “38% of DM readers have a Blu-ray player” are NetFlix subscribers, have iPhones, are between the ages of etc, etc, etc. You get the idea.

We’re also interested in what kind of culture you are consuming. What movies you are seeing, books you are reading and what music you are listening to. Some of the questions are not of interest to potential advertisers, they are only really of interest to us. Like I was saying, we need this information to sell adverising, yes, but we also want to know who is out there reading this blog.

Won’t you take a minute and fill out the survey, please? Each person who completes the survey will be eligible to win a selection of books from our friends at Feral House and Process Media Inc. Click here to take survey. Thank you!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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