Selling whiskey with Charles Bukowski

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The whiskey company Dewar’s has released a new TV ad featuring an actor reading a poem by the late writer Charles Bukowski.

The poem, “So, You Want to Be a Writer,” was published in a posthumous Bukowski collection.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talked to Carolyn Kellogg, a book critic for the LA Times, about other companies that have used the work of literary heroes to sell their products. She wrote about it today on her blog Jacket Copy.

As Carolyn notes:

The Paris Review finds the ad “all very sweeping and epic and generally the most movingly crass blend of commerce and poetry since Walt Whitman started shilling for Levi’s.”

Levi’s – America (Go Forth) commercial featuring Walt Whitman

The Awl has a nice roundup of eight commercials using writers as pitchmen. Here’s our favorite:

F. Scott Fitzgerald for Calvin Klein. One of a series of David Lynch-directed commercials for the Obsession fragrance that also featured passages by Ernest Hemingway and D.H. Lawrence. And yes, that’s a young Benicio Del Toro and Heather Graham: