Monday, November 05, 2007

The FREAKIN' Pabst, Man

It'd take a hard, horrid person to dislike the Pabst Theater. It's a magnificent and intimate venue, lovingly restored, carefully maintained, integral to the history and culture of Milwaukee, and host an unending stream of terrific shows by top-notch artists. It just killed me when I had to miss Lucinda Williams and Susan Tedeschi on successive nights a while back.

Pabst Theater with City Hall

But. Milwaukee, do you ever get the feeling the Pabst and Riverside are kinda talking down to you?

There's just... something incredibly annoying about the whole style and tone of their ongoing ad campaign of the last two years or so. Something about the random multiple font sizes drifting all over the ads. Something about the corny, slightly-too-enthused descriptions of performers ("the beret-wearing singer-songwriter who looks like she just walked out of a Jack Kerouac novel"). Something about having the famous hit song titles floating around randomly in the newspaper ads. Something about having poor Bruce Winter read these ads over and over again on WUWM.

It's like they're certain we've never heard of any of these people, and will only be persuaded to go if we hear gushing, simply-worded acolades from the advertisers. It's like they don't trust us.

I dunno. Maybe it works! Maybe it sells tickets. Maybe most potential concert-goers really don't have any idea who Rikki Lee Jones or Josh Rouse are. But still... don't you occasionally feel like we're being regarded as a bunch of uncultured rubes?

Also, the emphasis in "the freaking Pabst, man!" should be on "Pabst", not "freaking". Don't people look at what they paste on their buildings??


Tom said...

Amen, brother. They really need a new copy-writer.

Anonymous said...

The Pabst, Riverside and Turner Ballroom are some of the greatest things in downtown Milwaukee. I don't know what good your petty critism on their obviously successfull ad campaign is going to do. All I can see here is another person trying to hold back the growing and well deserved self confidence of a blossoming city.

tom said...

anon- I agree, the booking has been great and all three are great spaces to hear live music. Which makes the lame ads all the more annoying.

Robert Powers said...

Anonymous -- if a fairly tongue-in-cheek criticism of a hokey ad campaign by some guy on the internet stings that hard, then I guess you're right -- this town seriously needs to work on the ol' self-esteem thing. Cause, I mean, jeez, dude.