Black Label

Black Label

Black Label is a brand of beer well known throughout the former British Empire, where it is best known for its slogan "Hey Mabel, Black Label!". The most famous slogan for this product was, "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label!" In several countries it is also known as Carling Black Label. However, in the UK it is now known as just 'Carling' - they dropped the 'Black Label' in 2000 in response to public demands for a snappier call at the bar (according to the company).

Carling brands are currently owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company. In South Africa it is distributed by SABMiller.

Around 1990, Black Label had probably one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever made in Canada. Using the phrase 'The Legend is Black' and some highly stylized black and white photography & video along with a quirky sense of humour, Black Label was instantly transformed from being an obscure old-man's beer to being the most popular beer around. The genius of the advertising campaign came from the tendency for people on the trendy bars on Queen St. in Toronto to drink black label because it was cheap.

History: See

In Britain, Black Label began to take off and was shipped around the globe where it took up residence in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

After the Carling breweries in the United States stopped producing Black Label to focus on a more profitable lager, they found their sales plummeting and re-introduced Black Label with a beautiful blonde named Mabel, portrayed by Jeanne Goodspeed. The twenty year marketing campaign cemented the name in the popular culture of America.

In 1979, after several years of intense pressure from the larger American Brewers Miller and Anheuser-Busch Carling-National was bought out by the Heileman Brewing Co. of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Carling and the Black Label brand are currently owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company. In the U.S., the Black Label brand is owned by the Pabst Brewing Company.

In South Africa, Black Label began to take on a different tone with the anti-apartheid movements. Not only did it have more alcohol than the other brands of beer (5.5% as opposed to 5% noted in the popular advertising catch phrase "only hard working students deserve an extra 0.5 percent") in the country, but the connotation of black to the racial issue became a point of pride to the native Africans. It is often sold with the motto, "America's Lusty, Lively Beer", perhaps in reference to Canada, though it is seldom seen in the United States. The motto came from an older advertising campaign in the United States, of which many pieces of advertising can still be purchased. The beer is commonly referred to as simply 'Black label' or, even more simply, in order to provide a snappy call at the bar, 'label' by South Africans. It also goes by the name 'Zamalek', 'quickcharge', 'silvertop' or '1011'. (10-11 Malt Liquor is a Carling's brand.)

The beer was parodied by South African t-shirt company laughitoff. The slogan was changed to "Black Labour, White Guilt" which led to an unsuccessful copyright infringement law suit from SABMiller.

In the United Kingdom, Carling Black Label released a series of ads showing someone doing something cool, clever or difficult, and having a bystander say "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label". Created by the WCRS agency in 1989, many of the adverts featured comedians Mark Arden and Stephen Frost (alias The Oblivion Boys) delivering the classic punchline. Largely because of this advertising campaign, it became the best-selling brand of beer in Britain since 1971.


External links

* [ Official Carling Lager website]
* [ Fan tribute & history website]

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