Regulation

Artifact: When Ads Campaign

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Credit: Cabaret

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City and the most prominent Puritan since Cotton Mather, is the unseen villain in a remarkable TV ad campaign for Rheingold Beer. These images are from "Cabaret," one of three 30-second spots that make up the beer's "Don't Sleep" campaign. According to the Rheingold Web site, the campaign challenges Bloomberg's "attempts to 'San Francisco-fy' the city," presumably by trying to file away New York's rough edges.

"Cabaret" features quick cuts of New Yorkers dancing freely on the sidewalks and in a bar despite the city's draconian dancing law. "Crate" addresses the city's bizarre policy of fining people who sit on upended milk crates. "Ashtray" features smokers who bring their own ashtrays into the city's now-smokeless bars and slam them down assertively. "This is New York," brags the Beat-like voice-over, "and we can't sleep 'til we take it back."

Bloomberg wasn't happy about the campaign, calling Rheingold "a company that walked out on this city 30 years ago." But as the New York Daily News remembered, Rheingold shut down its Brooklyn brewery in 1974 because it was then too broke to bottle its beer. Anyway, as Rheingold's CEO responded, the campaign is really "all about freedom of choice." You gotta problem with dat, mayor?

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