Ad of the Day: Bavaria

Charlie Sheen's unlikely advertising rebirth continues, as the Dutch brewer tests his sketchy sobriety

The jester who would be king—or at least, a better-paid jester.

Charlie Sheen steadily clawing his way back from ignominy is one of the quietly notable celebrity stories of 2012. The first teaser for his upcoming FX comedy Anger Management just surfaced. But his rebirth really began in advertising—first in spots for Fiat and DirecTV, and now in a new global commercial for Bavaria beer.

The DirecTV ad was the best of the bunch—part of a truly breakthrough campaign from Grey New York. But the Bavaria spot, from Amsterdam agency Selmore, has its moments, too. It opens with the 46-year-old actor leaving a rehab clinic. "We don't want to see you back here again, Charlie," says a white-coated doctor. "Don't worry," Sheen replies with a smile. "Let's not have a drink sometime." But as soon as he leaves the grounds, he notices that everyone, everywhere—even pregnant women, construction workers, police officers on the beat—seems to be drinking bottles of beer.

Getting more and more agitated—he thinks he might be hallucinating—Sheen eventually arrives at home (parking his non-Fiat in the driveway instead of driving straight into the house) and is greeted in his backyard by dozens of friends, all of whom are drinking, too. "What the f*ck?!" he mutters in confusion and anger, before running back inside. But he's soon coaxed out, when it's made clear to him that all is not as it appears.

Bavaria used a similar conceit in 2010 in a spot with Mickey Rourke. (It also featured Hugh Hefner, somewhat differently, in an amusing 2011 ad.) And while the Sheen spot wouldn't fly in America—making light of alcoholism isn't a popular gambit here—the plot certainly fits the talent. Sheen's charisma, after all, is undeniable, even through he's worked so hard to destroy it completely over the years.

As in other spots, Sheen still basically serves as a human punch line in this ad—yet he seems so good natured in doing so that it's hard not to like the guy. It's been the cornerstone of his persona for a decade now—the goofy party guy who doesn't like to say no. And while the more serious roles are almost certainly beyond his reach these days, he can still dine out on comedy like this. With a non-alcoholic beer, of course.


Client: Bavaria

Agency: Selmore, Amsterdam

Director: Jonathan Herman, Bonkers