Bud Light's fictional Dilly Dilly King stepped off TV screens and into a Chicago bar to announce his support of Loyola-Chicago, which is in the Final Four of the NCAA championships.
It happened at Bar 63 near Loyola, where the king showed up with a royal entourage, made a speech on behalf of the team and bestowed some royal Bud Lite on friends of the crown.
The king is in real life John Hoogenakker, a Charlottean now living in Chicago. That makes his support for the Chicago-based team a no brainer. Loyola faces Michigan on March 31.
“Attention! Lend me your ears,” he said into a microphone at the bar. “The greatness of the Ramblers of Loyola can no longer be denied! Many thought they'd be gone by now. Loyalty is practically the name of your school.”
For being such friends to the school, he presented them with "the freshest keg of Bud Light in the kingdom" and a bell.
Hoogenakker, who will be in the upcoming "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" series on Amazon, told the Observer that he is a "de facto supporter of any underdog team that makes it this far."
"Ironically enough, I went to a different school in Chicago, DePaul University, but I guess at this point everyone can get along," he said in an email.
The visit to Bar 63 was carried out with full involvement of Bud Light and the company's advertisers, he said. And he adds that the crowd got so overwhelming that the keg ran out. It was the first time Hoogenakker experienced up close the phenomenon that the Dilly Dilly King commercials has created across the country.
The bar was packed with 400 plus people and there was a line down the block, he says.
"That is the first time that I’ve experienced that sort of reaction to the Bud Light King...The random appearance of four professional trumpet players, a sweeper, a keg bearer and the Bud Light King made for a very fun and memorable experience," he said.
"Bud Light wanted to support the unadulterated hope and optimism of college sports and I’m so glad I got to be a part of that event."
Hoogenakker left Charlotte after graduating in 1995 from South Meck High and moved to Chicago, where he has found steady work in films, TV and commercials.
He currently has roles in two 2018 series: “Colony” on USA Network and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon.
His parents, Jerry and Alice Hoogenakker, still live in Charlotte and attend Myers Park Baptist.