Billy Dee Williams is back—and he’s still talking about Colt 45. The Star Wars actor is set to return as the pitchman for the famous malt liquor more than 25 years after he first touted that it “works every time,” according to USA Today.
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Billy Dee Williams served as Colt 45’s brand ambassador during the malt liquor’s heyday, from 1986 to 1991, and a new Colt 45 teaser reveals that the 78-year-old actor will star in a new TV, print, and online marketing campaign for the iconic Pabst Brewing Company beverage. In a phone interview about the resurrection of his ad campaign, Billy Dee Williams said the famed beverage company has always been a big part of his life.
“I suppose that it has always been a part of my life because I put a face on it and a voice to it for so many years.”
Billy Dee Williams was criticized for his Colt 45 commercials back in the day due to the tagline for the ads, which was “It works every time.” The ads always included a smooth talking Williams and an attractive woman, with the suggestion that the iconic malt liquor, which has a higher alcohol content than beer, could be used to get female companions intoxicated quickly. The tagline is still used for the brand’s current ads.
— Colt 45 (@ColtFortyFive) January 14, 2016
Billy Dee Williams’ Colt 45 ads were such a part of the late 1980s that they got their own spoof treatment on Fox’s sketch comedy series In Living Color. In 1990, Keenen Ivory Wayans spoofed Williams’ famous malt liquor ads, with Kim Coles as his clueless female companion. The parody product was called Bolt 45.
In a new 15-second teaser for the upcoming ad campaign, clips from classic Billy Dee Williams ads are mixed with new footage of the star as he pours a can of Colt 45 into a glass. Williams then reflects on the classic drink in a voice-over.
“The world moves fast, but change isn’t always a good thing when you got it right the first time around. Because sometimes a true original doesn’t need to change a thing. It works every time.”
In a statement about the new ad campaign, Pabst said the company teamed up with Billy Dee Williams once again because the actor played “a major role in the success of Colt 45.” Indeed, Billy Dee Williams stands by the original ads, and doesn’t seem to care about past criticism over the classic brand’s controversial ad campaign.
“You are always going to have people criticizing, in one way or another, for their own personal reason. But I had never felt that Colt 45 or any beer for that matter was anything that was detrimental to anyone’s well being.”
According to Adweek, when asked about his appearances in the ads, Billy Dee Williams was rumored to have once said he had no problem pitching the product, and allegedly teased that he would go even further if possible.
“I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I’d appear in a commercial for it.”
But in an interview with Vida de Oro, Billy Dee said he never stated he would he would be a pot pitchman. Instead, he stays true to that liquid gold.
“That’s simply not true, I would not do a commercial for marijuana. As for Colt 45, I am very proud of my endorsement of the product and it still, ‘Works every time.”
Take a look at the videos below to see two retro Billy Dee Williams commercials for Colt 45.
[Photo By Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Humane Society)]