Dewars Channels the Ghost of Charles Bukowski to Sell Scotch

In 1993, the GAP used the ghost of Jack Kerouac to help sell khakis to desk jockeys across the nation. That was odd. 20 years later, Dewars has called upon Charles Bukowski, dead since 1994, to peddle Scotch. That makes complete sense. As you may recall, Bukowski once told Sean Penn in a 1987 Interview magazine piece: “Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth — alongside of me. Yes…these are two of the greatest arrivals upon the surface of the earth. So…we get along.” Bukowski liked to drink. He also liked to talk about his memorable hangovers. Dead or alive, Bukowski has the creds to sell Scotch.

As the Dewars ad rolls (above), you’ll hear lines from Bukowski’s poem “so you want to be a writer?” (below). And if you’re familiar with the poem, you’ll notice that the narration in the commercial is abridged. They’ve removed various lines referring to the writing life, making it so that the narration speaks to a broader audience. Rock climbers. Motorcycle mechanics. Musicians. Journalists. People who aspire — or need to be inspired — to “live true.”

Two quick notes: If I’m not mistaken, you can hear the same voice in the clips above and below. That would make it the voice of “Tom O’Bedlam,” who runs the Spoken Verse channel on YouTube. Also, you can view a Spanish version of the Dewars ad here.

Related Resources: 

So You Want to Be a Writer?: Charles Bukowski Explains the Dos & Don’ts

Charles Bukowski Tells the Story of His Worst Hangover Ever

“Don’t Try”: Charles Bukowski’s Concise Philosophy of Art and Life

550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free

Drinking with William Faulkner



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  1. jmignault says . . . | September 20, 2013 / 7:07 am

    I think you meant “co-opts,” or “exploits” there, not “channels.”

  2. Steve Mort says . . . | September 20, 2013 / 10:34 am

    I was going to go with “rapes the corpse of Bukowski with an enthusiasm and vigor that would make a grizzled necrophiliac blush”, but I’ll take ‘exploits’ in a pinch.

  3. CountJoseph says . . . | September 20, 2013 / 2:52 pm

    …and alas the mantra of the millennial is co-opted by a brand aiming to sell booze to a new generation…the word “passionate” is plenty bandied about by the very age group this ad is pin-pointedly aimed toward…and they will get it. If they are not feeling “passionate” about their career, their mate, their vehicle, their beard or hairdo then they move on…who will be doing the drudge work and wearing the bad clothes and have the poor dental hygiene of the future? Where will the new Bukowskis come from? Not these kids. They are passionate, but they are completely unable to suffer for their passion, as he did. They want it handed to them. Sad really. Don’t try.

  4. Entitled1990 says . . . | October 1, 2013 / 3:02 pm

    Please, go ahead and shut the fuck up. Wow, that came out of me like a rocket. Thanks, Bukowski.

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