The actor, who served as the company’s iconic spokesman for five years starting in 1986, officially made his return in a new 15-second video, released Monday (03-28-16), USA Today reports, adding that the clip teases an upcoming TV, print and online marketing campaign that will star Williams. .
Upon getting word from Colt 45 about bringing back the campaign, the “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” star thought “how interesting life is.”
“I suppose that it has always been a part of my life, because I put a face on it and a voice to it for so many years,” Williams told USA Today in a phone interview.
Williams’ return to Colt 45 conjures up memories when the brand was the biggest name in malt liquor as well as the controversy from ads featuring the entertainer holding a 16-ounce can in ads saying, “It works every time.” During this time, critics pointed out that the tagline from the Colt 45 ads suggested the beer could be used to get women intoxicated quickly.
Now 78 and giving a debonair vibe in the new 15-second teaser video, Williams is wearing a tan suit with pocket kerchief and ascot scarf while looking dapper pouring a Colt 45 can into a goblet in a darkly lit bar.
“The world moves fast, but change isn’t always a good thing when you got it right the first time around,” Williams is heard in a voice-over. “Because sometimes a true original doesn’t need to change a thing. It works every time.”
Going deeper with the analysis, branding and communications consultant Tracey Riese highlighted that although Colt 45 has historically targeted African-Americans, “liquor advertising has always targeted men, and it has almost always been about making women, if not drunk, then certainly sexually available.”
“The liquor industry generally has been especially — insidiously and I would say shamelessly — effective at targeting their brands at very specific audience segments, and developing messages that tap the deepest aspirations of that audience,” she told USA Today. “Colt 45 would be no exception: Billy Dee Williams represents suave sex appeal that many men of all races might aspire to.”
As for why Colt 45 is bringing Williams back as a spokesman, Dan McHugh, Chief Marketing Officer of Pabst Brewing Co., the owner of the malt liquor brand, summed it up saying Williams “played a major role in the success of Colt 45.”
Nevertheless, Williams has his work cut out for him as the Colt 45 days as the number one beer brand are currently behind them as it fall behind other U.S. malt liquor brands in sales. Competitors include Molson Coors brands Steel Reserve, Mickey’s and Olde English, as well as Hurricane and King Cobra, from Anheuser-Busch InBev.
For anyone thinking Colt 45 has bad intentions attached to it, Williams brushed it off.
“You are always going to have people criticizing, in one way or another, for their own personal reason,” he said. “But I had never felt that Colt 45, or any beer for that matter ,was anything that was detrimental to anyone’s well-being.”
For more on Colt 45 and Williams, click here and check out the new teaser below: