Skol beer got its start in the early sixties and for a brief time, it used the comic-strip Viking, Hägar the Horrible in a popular series of advertisements in the UK. These included billboards, print ads, commercials.
In this commercial, Hägar and his wife Helga are chatting and decide that a night of drinking is just what they need. But as you might guess, their definitions of an enjoyable night of imbibing are very different.
Hägar likes the idea of carousing with his fellow Vikings while Helga wants a classier affair.
The animation style is pretty simple, just simple black and white drawings, but the end effect is pretty decent. It makes me think that Hägar and the rest of his comic pals would be pretty great spokes-characters for other brands.
So it was not a surprise to learn that for a short time, Hägar strips appeared on “Sunday Funnies Cola.” They were a clever idea. Why just drink a soda when you can also be entertained by the container. It works so well for breakfast cereal but surprisingly failed with the soda pop.
The Skol Beer ads would get reused briefly to advertise Mug Root Beer in the United States. They just superimposed Root Beer cans over the beer and re-dubbed the commercial.
Here is a long series of commercials from the New York City area, the first one you see will be the Mug Root Beer ad.
Hagar has one more slightly more improbable turn doing advertising for the IBM RISC System/6000 computer in 1990.
It is a shame that Hägar didn’t catch on in a bigger way. I can think of some very obvious brands that could benefit from this very famous Viking. Want examples? How about the Viking Range Company and Viking Cruises?
Hägar the Horrible was created by cartoonist Dik Browne in 1973 and syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Dik retired in 1988 and passed away a year later. His son Chris Browne took over cartooning duties at that point and has been doing Hägar ever since.