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.