An ’80s Retrospect: Dewar’s Profiles (Hic …)

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By: Steven Heller

As The Los Angeles Times reported in 1989: “Thirteen years after he appeared in a Dewar’s Profile ad (‘Wildlife Conservationist; International Airline Pilot’), David O. Hill said friends still introduce him by saying: ‘He was a Dewar’s guy.’

“Eleven years after his profile ran, Les Payne (‘Journalist’) has a copy hanging on his office wall with other memorabilia: a picture of him and Jimmy Carter, his Pulitzer Prize plaque, a picture of Payne on ‘Meet the Press.’ But without exception, said Payne, a Newsday assistant managing editor, ‘Everyone goes right to the ad and says, Gee, I didn’t know you were a Dewar’s Profile!’

“Twenty years have passed since the first profile ad appeared (Jerry Orbach, ‘Actor’) and, despite declining Scotch consumption in the United States, the appeal of the campaign is as strong as ever.”

Dewar’s Profiles ads go back to the 1970s. In 2014 Dewar’s relaunched the campaign for the digital age. But the wonderful print juxtapositions in “Dewar’s Profiles New York” of Scotch and average successful drinking folk who come from “all walks of life” (really?) still hold my attention. I don’t imbibe but I wish I were both an Oscar Mayer wiener and a Dewar’s Profile. (Note the comic Susie Essman before she became a star on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and note Charlie the Chimp before …?)

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