Spike Toasts Jackie in ‘Here’s to Beer’

CHICAGO The brewing industry’s “Here’s to beer” campaign led by Anheuser-Busch enlists filmmaker Spike Lee to ask drinkers, “If you could have a beer with anyone, who would it be?”

Two spots created by DDB, Chicago, and produced by Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks, Brooklyn, N.Y., air this weekend. Lee stars in one spot, hoisting a glass to Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson. Emmy Award-winning Sopranos cast member Michael Imperioli chooses actor Humphrey Bogart in a second of a series of commercials airing this spring, featuring celebrities answering that provocative question.

Consumers also can weigh in at herestobeer.com between April 3 and May 31 to nominate anyone—famous or unknown—in 50 words or less. Five finalists receive a video camera to share their stories, which will be posted on the Web and voted on by consumers. The winner gets a trip to Munich, Germany, for Oktoberfest.

“Beer is about sharing moments and creating memories with good friends and family,” Robert Lachky, A-B’s evp of global industry development, said in a statement. “Through his one-of-a-kind directing, Spike has been able to capture beer’s place in our culture and its ability to bring people from all walks of life together in an unpretentious way. The ads bring to life the spirit and camaraderie of sharing a beer.”

The “Here’s to Beer” Web site has attracted more than 170,000 hits since debuting on Super Bowl Sunday. A-B is funding the effort in partnership with the Beer Institute to market the category that has seen some of its market share slip away to spirits and wine.

Other spots that likely will air online will take on the link between wine and a healthy heart by playing up the health benefits of moderate beer consumption.