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The Milwaukee Burger TV Ad (now with video)

Eric Rasmussen |

Eau Claire has spit out a few pretty epic local commercials – does anyone remember Ship Shape’s? “Your-car-isn’t-clean-until-it’s…Ship-Shape!” played while 80’s-haired sailors washed someone’s car. I remember the commercial sneaking onto the air a few years ago, I assume because of a case of unlabeled VHS tapes. Sadly though, really outstanding or outstandingly awful local commercials are relatively rare – the vast majority of businesses opt for panoramic shots of the building, a few long-shots of staged customers, and a voice over by one of the local radio personalities.

But then we have the recent gem from Milwaukee Burger Company. A good ol’ fashioned “bro” banters with a coy waitress over whether or not he can finish the big Milwaukee, and a bet is offered. Cut to an over-the-shoulder shot of the bro and his bro friends leaving, and the gentleman in question looks over his shoulder to see the mark of the bet he lost – a tattoo of the Milwaukee Burger Company logo on his lower back. Behold:

Don’t get me wrong – the commercial looks local, with VHS-camcorder camera quality, slightly awkward timing, and a premise that could only come from the “unique” advertising sensibilities of local ad outfits. But at least they are trying, and this is why I salute you, Milwaukee Burger Company, with your amateur actors and your iffy tattoo special effects. Our local ad shops need to remember an ancient truism of television advertising – what local outfits lack in production value can be more than made up for in annoying jingles, bizarre premises, and monumentally weird commercials. MBC is not alone – EC Realty’s sweeping shots of people in their homes, United Way’s gathering of quarters, and many others have brought artistry to local advertising. Let’s keep it up.