He was a rock’n’roll outlaw, a bass icon, a bourbon drinker and an all round lovely chap. One thing that Motörhead‘s visionary frontman Lemmy Kilmister was not known for, however, was his love of milk – mostly because he hated the stuff. And well, because guzzling down diary doesn’t isn’t quite as disreputable as throwing back entire bottles of Jack Daniels. And it’s probably why his appearance in a promotional film for Finnish milk company Valio, filmed just weeks before his death in late 2015, raised more than a few eyebrows.
Created by ad agency Hasan & Partners, the advert – which was edited and released following Lemmy’s death, to serve as a tribute – finds the Motöhead maestro wandering out of a gas station at night, walking stick in hand, before glaring at the the camera and declaring: “I have never drunk milk. And never will. You asshole!”
Turning away, he grins a wry smile, before the screen pans to white as milk pours into a glass and Vailo’s logo appears, alongside a touching message: “Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister 1945-2015. We raise our glasses to you.”
While the drollness of the ad perfectly encapsulates Lemmy’s idiosyncratic dry humour – especially with the addition of his improvised ‘asshole’ line – it was actually a remake of a renowned Finnish commercial made in the late 1990s for the Dairy Nutrition Council of Finland. In the original footage, a dishevelled man leaves a bar and mutters the same line,”I have never drunk milk, and never will.”
The reimagined ad was shot in Maunula, Finland, shortly before Motörhead were due to perform at the nearby Hartwall Arena.
At the end, more text reads: “This is offered in celebration of the life of a lovely, exceptional man – a man who celebrated life so vibrantly himself.
“We were first shooting a remake of an iconic Finnish milk ad. The tone of this ad, that was shot a month ago, was changed to make it a heartfelt tribute, however modest.
“A take that came late in the shoot was selected – one of Lemmy’s brilliant improv moments that was never in the script.
“This was our magical encounter with a great man and we’re honoured to share it with the world. Thank you Lemmy.”
Speaking of the project, Hasan & Partners chief operating officer Jussi Lindholm told The Guardian, “We were in the middle of post-production when the news about Lemmy broke. We are profoundly grateful to have worked with him and that Lemmy’s management feel good about the result. We discussed not airing the ad but had footage that was not part of the original script, which crystallised Lemmy’s spirit, so we agreed to change it and make a tribute.”
Valio marketing manager Hanna Savolainen added: “We were devastated to learn of Lemmy’s passing, but honoured to have collaborated with him. Lemmy was great to work with and we feel we’ve captured the essence of his genuine, lively spirit.”
Check out the commercial below.