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Ralston buzzing following beer ads

Aron Ralston, left, in a new commercial for Miller Lite's "Men of the Square Table" campaign.(Courtesy manlaws.com)
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Aron Ralston is living a different kind of “high life” these days.Miller Lite’s newest ad campaign, “Men of the Square Table,” features the mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast from Aspen, revered for his daring self-rescue from a Utah canyon three years ago. Ralston joins an eclectic cast of characters – Burt Reynolds, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and wrestler Triple H, among others – to advise men on a set of oft-overlooked scenarios. The group’s “Man Laws” outline what is and is not in good taste. They delve into such topics as the appropriateness of taking home beer one brings to a party, or the recommended period of time that must elapse before one is permitted to ask out his friend’s ex. (Apparently, it’s six months.) “The irony here is that the last time I drank a Miller was 12 years ago,” Ralston joked Tuesday. “I went against my self-identity, but if it involves Burt Reynolds, I’m there.”

Ralston said it was a “brisk surprise” when he received a call in March from a talent agency targeting “manly celebrities.” It piqued his interest, and two weeks later he was on his way to Los Angeles to begin filming. Various outdoor equipment and print sponsors have courted Ralston, 30, he said. This opportunity, however, was a step above.”To be invited for a serious, long-life television campaign with a lot of exposure is an honor,” Ralston said. “This was an easy one for me to think about.”They even gave me my own trailer.”Adding to the draw for Ralston was the presence of director Peter Farrelly of “Dumb & Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary” fame. Ralston, in keeping with his initial interactions with the other actors, was awestruck with Farrelly.

“When I first met with Peter, I got it out of the way and told him I was a big fan of his movies,” Ralston said. “I love over-the-top, spit-your-popcorn-out-in-the-movie-theater-type films. He laughed and said, ‘I’m glad to hear that. We have big plans for you.'”While Ralston’s role in the first three of the campaign’s 18 ads, which debuted Monday, is nominal, he said things will change as the series progresses. Consumers can look forward to banter between Ralston and group moderator Reynolds, in which Ralston’s right arm – or lack thereof – becomes a topic of discussion. There are quips about his inability to shuffle a deck of cards or cut his own steak, Ralston said. His abilities as a masseuse? Terrible. The final footage doesn’t include the a scene where Ralston, in response to a question, scratches his head with his right arm and responds, “I’m stumped.” “I guess they thought it was a little too over-the-top,” Ralston said. “I loved it.”Ralston relished the opportunity to share a laugh at his own expense. In fact, no one was laughing harder when the cameras shut off.



“I was honored to be providing them with fodder,” Ralston said. “I like making fun. It was great to be a source of amusement.”The campaign was a bit of a departure for a man who’s seemingly more at home on the summit of a fourteener than in a sound studio. And the chance to mingle with an interesting cast and to share stories was an experience he could never have fathomed just three years ago. “When I was trapped in the bottom of the canyon, I could never have guessed I’d be eating ribs at Dom DeLuise’s house with Burt Reynolds,” he said. “It’s surreal, but that’s what intrigued and interested me about the project.”For more information, visit http://www.manlaws.com.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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