Monday, August 23, 2010
AiAA: Budweiser -- "Getting Attention"
When I was a kid, the best commercials were the beer ads that aired during the infrequent nationally-televised sporting event on ABC, CBS or NBC. Back in the 1980s, baseball games were seen on Saturdays, basketball ran on Sundays and pro football was still strengthening its Sunday/Monday stranglehold.
Miller Lite's seminal "Less Filling, Tastes Great" campaign was a veritable advertising clinic. It reached the 35-54 demographic through the use of recently-retired professional athletes in its print and TV spots. The commercials were sophomorically over-the-top in hopes of establishing product loyalty and potential purchases from young men who may be up to a decade away from legally buying beer. And, most importantly, the catchphrase never overshadowed the product.
My favorite two things about this spot: (1) The involvement of avowed alcoholic baseball manager Billy Martin and (2) Football broadcaster John Madden's self-parodying performance that became the template for John Madden's self-parodying broadcasts two decades later.
Bud Light's "Gimme a Light" ads weren't clever, but were kind of catchy. Dig the brutha's especially ethnic intonation of "Buuuud" and the shrieking harpy who ruins this ad with her laugh.
A dog named "Spuds McKenzie" was a brief pop culture icon thanks to several 1980s beer ads. But, since we already addressed Bud Light, let's give "Alex" from Stroh's some love. Remember, morons: "...with 30 packs, you get MORE beer!"
In 2010, commercials for the major American beer companies try too hard to be cute. Budweiser's "It's What We Do" campaign juxtaposes their domestic suds with "real-life" scenarios. This one tackles the "crowded bar conundrum".
Budweiser should've used its 30 seconds to focus on the opening line ("...where boldness is rewarded and the meek go thirsty.") Instead, we get an array of intentionally ridiculous "signals" that aren't amusing in any way.
Are you trying to get the bartender's attention at an SRO watering hole? Stand by the cash register -- which is almost always just around the corner from the "bar" part of the bar. Get your drink(s) and THEN move over to the elongated section where the beautiful people are still pig-piling for their long-awaited refills.
Afterwards, be sure to take as much pride in outsmarting a beer commercial as I do.