Beer Nuts

The new beer commercial.

In the past, beer companies had a basic marketing formula: Appeal to men’s lower halves, and their hearts and wallets will follow. It was hard to find a beer commercial in the ‘80s and ‘90s that didn’t feature a Swedish bikini team, a female beach volleyball team, a libidinous pit bull or some wet T-shirt gag to please the testosterone set.

These days, however, advertising executives seem to have a much different view of the priorities of the average male. A slate of new beer commercials broadcast relentlessly during the NCAA tournament portray women not as temptresses luring men to buy Budweiser and Coors but as obstacles (even annoyances) standing in the way of the only thing that matters: beer. Spuds McKenzie is out; Al Bundy is in. Consider three examples:

1. A Coors Light advertisement depicts two young people at a dance club. The couple moves from the dance floor to a private booth, and then the woman asks if he would like to go somewhere “more private.” He shakes his head. Surprised, she asks, “Don’t you find me attractive?” Again, he shakes his head. The ad’s denouement reveals that he isn’t even paying attention to his partner’s questions. He’s in a trance, his head shaking as it follows a bottle of Coors Light swaying back and forth behind the woman’s head.

2. A Michelob Light ad shows a young woman going to painstaking detail to cook a romantic dinner for her boyfriend. She lights candles, puts on mood music, and gets into a slinky dress. She answers the door to find her boyfriend, dressed like a slob and indifferent to the work she has done. He looks past her, focusing only on what is sitting on the dinner table. “Wow,” he says, “you bought Michelob Light.” She looks unimpressed.

3. The most brain-dead hero appears in a Bud Light ad. (Click on the entertainment navigation at the bottom of this screen, then on “TV/Radio,” then on “Pencil Pusher” to see it.) A clod is sitting in his office throwing pencils at the ceiling. His girlfriend calls and in a sexy voice, tells him to come home. He looks annoyed and says he is too busy. When she tells him that she bought Bud Light, however, the man becomes so excited that he fires a pencil through the ceiling, through the floor of the office above, and through his boss’s chair.

In other words, American males will be heartened to know that beer companies no longer consider them to be sexist, horny rogues. Now the beer-makers see they are asexual, alcoholic, dimwitted slobs.