TERRE HAUTE —
America is at a crossroads, and Will Ferrell stands right in the middle of it.
In an Old Milwaukee beer commercial, that is, filmed in the middle of traffic at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue in September. When Ferrell and a film crew showed up there the morning of Sept. 13 unannounced, Terre Hauteans knew nothing about his mission. This week, the results of Ferrell’s visits hit the TV airwaves in the local market, and it's all quite comical.
There are five Terre Haute-based ads.
One shows Ferrell holding a can of Old Milwaukee in the Seventh and Wabash intersection as cars drive around him and the camera crew. One motorist honks.
Dressed in a printed polo shirt, khaki shorts, tube socks and sandals, he says, “Right here at the intersection of Wabash and Seventh, it’s called the Crossroads of America. We’re not really supposed to stand here. In fact, there’s a lot of traffic. But we’re kind of at bit of a crossroads in this country right now. We can either continue down the road we’re going — (looks with worry as cars and trucks drive by) once again, we should not be here — or, get back to our roots and enjoy an Old Milwaukee. I think it’s the right road to take. Old Milwaukee. It doesn’t get any better than this. … This is dangerous right now. Let’s get … We need to get out of here.”
In another ad, Ferrell walks along the railroad tracks near 10th and Ohio streets, while his voice narrates the scene. This spot appears to have been filmed later in the day, under bright sunshine. He’s wearing sunglasses, a white sport shirt (printed with American flags and Old West battle imagery), jeans and sneakers as he walks on the tracks, and then beside the tracks.
“I like to walk the tracks. I go from town to town,” Ferrell says melodramatically. “It’s a good way to see America. We are a nation of backyards. And there’s a lot of rickety trampolines out there. I think about that a lot in Terre Haute. We have to be careful on those trampolines. Some of them look pretty rusty.” Then, he pops open an Old Milwaukee can, apparently shaken for effect as it explodes with foam.
According to statements from the Pabst Brewing Company, the ads were entirely the idea of Ferrell, who wasn’t hired as an official company spokesman. His website FunnyOrDie.com produced the ads. In addition to the Terre Haute commercials three others were shot also in September at Davenport, Iowa. In the other Terre Haute spots, Ferrell visits the rooftops of the downtown parking garage and the Sycamore Building, and takes a bike ride down Wabash Avenue.
A company statement said, for now, the ads will appear only in the local markets where they were shot.
Mark Bennett can be reached at (812) 231-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.