The Swedish Bikini Team Legend : Getting Milwaukee’s groove back
Once upon a time, in a parallel universe called The Nineties, a group of buxom, platinum blond women known as the “Swedish Bikini Team”. They were not Swedish and they did not participate in team-based competitions. But these girls probably wore bikinis, and, in them, appeared on the cover of Playboy, appeared in large series at the time such as Married … with Children, and sold old Milwaukee beer to the American public. They were damn good at that too – but before we could really start the sexy, the Swedish Bikini team was closed for good. Below is a brief overview of one of the most ambitious and successful attempts of beer advertising to sell sex – and how these good girls went wrong.
Beer advertising has never been centered on the sale of “fair” beer, that is, advertisements have always positioned beer as a gateway to something more. Usually, this something is sex, because of course. It’s a simple message: if you drink beer like that, you’ll end up hanging out with pretty girls like that.
With their Scandinavian names stereotyped (Ulla Swenson, Hilgar Oblief …), the caricature seemed too subtle. Would people get their parody of sexy ads on beer? “The artistic director, he had the brilliant idea to give them uniforms – the same costumes, the same wigs,” said Scullin. It would give girls the appearance of fake, cartoon, magical – exactly the kind of “Monty Pythonesque notion” that Scullin had been looking for.