What could be more quintessentially Midwestern than some tasteless, frigid lager in an aluminum can? As much as Will Ferrell’s Old Milwaukee ads baffled the American public, they were spot on in terms of virality: hyperlocal, offbeat yet engaging, and featuring the star’s endorsement delivered with varying levels of deadpan wit. We’ve watched him traipse across the Midwest, from wading in a river in Davenport, Ia., to sauntering through a cornfield in North Platte, Neb., in devilishly short television commercials that aired in markets so small nearly no one saw them. Fortunately, though, these ads have found a much longer shelf life online, reminding us of Ferrell’s supposed love for Old Milwaukee and his attempts to spread said love to the furthest reaches of the American heartland.
But now, it appears the funnyman is trying to spread his love of lager to the Swedes. He’s created at least four short ads, apparently filmed over the summer and aired recently on Swedish TV, which share his U.S. commercials’ tepid-yet-ringing endorsement of Old Milwaukee.
(PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes at Funny or Die)
In the ads, Ferrell cruises in his boat, talking about his wife. He rides a bike (in circles). He makes fun of the Swedish language. One ad is entirely in English, while others feature tinges of Swedish. All of the 30-second spots barely show the beer can.
But why Sweden? For Ferrell, this location might actually make more sense than his rural U.S. jaunts. His wife Viveca Paulin is a Swedish actress and the family spends summers in the country. So when he speaks Swedish, as he does in the above video, it’s highly plausible that he actually knows some of the language. According to Slate, he says: “This is my boat. This is my woman. And this is my beer. Old Milwaukee. It’s all right.”
While Scandanavian nations are better known as tipplers of clear spirits like vodka or aquavit, Swedes actually drink twice as much beer as vodka by volume, according to a 2002 EU study (although that sounds like a lot of vodka to us).
And they might just have a taste for Ferrell’s favorite suds: Sweden’s two most popular beers, Sofiero and Mariestads, are both pale lagers brewed in a similar style to Old Milwaukee.
According to the Swedish alcohol authority Systembolaget, only one American-produced beer places among Sweden’s most popular brands: Miller Genuine Draft, which ranks 49th. And with dozens of beers produced locally, particularly by the Carlsberg brewery located in Falkenberg, there’s little need for foreign imports. Maybe Ferrell can help Old Milwaukee and the Pabst Brewing Company change that.