Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hiding the beer from Mom

Tom Scocca has provided a fascinating interpretation of a topic that has baffled me for quite a number of years: Why macrobrewery beer commercials (from the likes of Budweiser, Coors, etc.) are so ridiculously asinine. The way Scocca outlines it, many of these beer commercials (for the past twenty years or so, in my experience) revolve around the following two-point narrative:
    1. Beer—cheap, common, domestic beer—is a rare commodity that drives men mad with the desire to have it, at any cost.
    2. Women are the great obstacle between men and the fulfillment of this desire.
"Taken literally," Scocca writes, "this is baffling" because "beer is cheap and easy to find" and "many single adult heterosexual men seek out female company when they're drinking."

Why do the big American Lager breweries perpetuate the same two-point narrative, then? Scocca asserts that they do so because their target audience is sixteen-year-old males:
    The girls [in the commercials] aren't really girls; they're Mom. And Mom is the first hurdle in the thrilling obstacle course that makes up the world of the teenage beer drinker.
The big American Lager brewers perpetuate this dynamic purposely:
    That's what the beer commercials are going after—the enthusiastic desperation of the underage drinker.

The comment thread on Scocca's post is also worth reading.


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