Food & Drink

Malaysian beer commercials from the 20th century

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This is part of a flashback editorial series on all things Malaysian. You can check out other flashback articles in the series for a journey through Malaysia’s past.

Did you know that the first brewery in Malaya (as Malaysia used to be called) was set up in the early 1930s? The first locally brewed beer was Tiger, which was produced by a company called Malayan Breweries Ltd, launched in 1931 (now Heineken N.V.). The second and only other brewery in the country was set up by Carslberg in 1969 in Shah Alam.

Left: Tiger beer ad from 1933, Right: Carlsberg Chinese New Year ad from 1955
Left: Tiger beer ad from 1933 (remembersingapore.org) Right: Carlsberg Chinese New Year ad, 1995 (credit: takusahrisau)

Obviously, beer drinking has been a part of the Malaysian community for decades, even before gaining independence. In 2011, the WHO Global Alcohol Report estimated that 12.3% of the Malaysian population drink alcohol.

guinness poster 60s
Guinness ad in Malaysia, circa. 1960s | Photo from: Britt Jacobsen, Pinterest

That number has surely increased since then, and with a growing market, there’s obviously a need for advertising. I’m sure many people in Malaysia would have watched at least one beer commercial, probably in the cinema before the movie starts.

That’s because alcohol advertising on radio and television was banned in Malaysia in 1995, forcing the industry to find other means of promoting their products.

Before that ban, however, Malaysian television aired several commercials to promote different beers to the Malaysian community. From the gold mine that is the internet, we managed to find some of these commercials, gems of classic television.

Guinness even had ads in Tamil and Mandarin, targeting specific demographics.

If you had a TV back in the 70s and 80s, this will be a walk down memory lane:

Guinness

Fun fact: The bulldog logo on Guinness bottles were specific to Malaysia. Back in the day, Guinness was shipped in bulk from Ireland and then bottled by distributors at the destination. The different animals signified where it was bottled. In Indonesia, the logo was of a cat and in Singapore it was a ‘red-tongued dog’ that resembled a wolf. For Malaysia, it was a bulldog.

This first commercial is in Malay and it was aired in 1970s.

Promoted

This one, in English, aired in the 80s. See if you can spot the Guinness bulldog.

The sentence at the bottom in the opening shot of this English ad translates to ‘For men who dare to face challenges’.

This ad, also in English, talks about how Guinness is good for ‘inducing healthy sleep, as a tonic after illness, and during pregnancy’. Apparently, doctors back then also agreed to that claim.

Carlsberg

Fun fact: Carlsberg produces approximately 35 billion bottles of beer every year…bottles only. Also, the Carlsberg logo has been used nearly unmodified since it was created in 1904 by Danish designer Thorvald Bindesball.

Tiger

tiger
Old Tiger posters | Photo credit: www.tigerbrewerytour.com.sg

Fun fact: An early slogan for Tiger was ‘tenaga berganda’ which translates to ‘multiple (more) energy’. This commercial is in Mandarin.

Promoted

This article was updated on 19th May 2016 to include the Guinness Stout poster from the 60s.

See also: 10 popular beer brands in Malaysia

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