Advertising as a Reflection of Social Realities

Football is America’s sport and nowadays the American sports fan is locked into the T.V. during Sunday- game day. The lifeblood of the NFL business machine is the advertisements that flood the sports fan as he/she is turned into their favorite team. One of the NFL’s leading beer partners is Budweiser, specifically its brand of Bud Light, the embodiment of ‘drinkability’. However, when we watch a Bud Light commercial, are we being sold on its drinkability, or rather a culture that Bud Light is intrinsically connected to and promotes through its consumption? Nowadays, in our post-modern world, we aren’t presented with merely a product with utilities that benefit the consumer, but a way of life that the object inhabits. The arbiters of this culture of culture consumption are those that work in the advertising world. Copywriters and the creative geniuses behind the most powerful agencies look to the contemporary world of cultural significance in an attempt to interpret and package symbolic meanings. Take the Miller 64 commercial. What exactly is being presented? Miller 64 is a low calorie beer, but instead of being delivered the benefits of being able to enjoy alcohol without assuming a caloric burden, we see the product emerged in the world of the ‘modern’ young adult. Moreover, the relationship between the product and the cultural meanings has become extremely sophisticated and the days of promoting the virtues of a beer simpliciter are long gone. After witnessing the recent trend in commercials, whether it is the culture of the NFL or that of the world of the young adult, one must ask are these ‘cultural intermediaries’ reflecting our social worlds, or rather are they presenting consumers with utter fantasies that have no basis in any cultural or social reality?


One comment

  1. isaacb23

    As we talked about in class, I think this is a clear sign of the America’s unique drinking culture, which i think is dominated by consumerism. America has (I think) the oldest drinking age of all Western cultures. European countries (and Canada) have lower ages and I think that affect the culture. In America, high schoolers romanticize getting drunk. They rely on sneaking around, buying the cheapest alcohol. They do not learn to value taste,they learn how to get drunk the quickest and cheapest way possible. Even once they mature, they have already been trained to look for other traits in beer besides its taste, such as its calories. In the Miller commercial, these young guys are looking for a way to get drunk, they don’t care how it tastes. Low calories is a positive aspect of a beer, not a clear sign its watered-down and tasteless. All they are looking for is a ‘drinkable’ beer.
    It is therefore not a coincidence that the biggest, most advertised brands are these watered-down beers. We have all grown up with these brands. They advertise their brand but hardly their product. These commercials reenforce drinking culture-drinking a brewski and watching the game, or partying hard at a bar. Commercials don’t even show people drinking! Coors commercials have all been about how cold it is, “as cold as the Rockies”. Their cans change colors when its cold enough to drink, its “drinkability” is peak when taste is sacrificed.
    Americans are trained to think of alcohol is just a route to inebriation, not just a beverage. While Europeans also get drunk, they are reared to appreciate liquor not just consume it. Our biggest beer brands ignore taste and only focus on getting drunk. The commercials indoctrinate us to believe that watered-down, diet beer is acceptable. It isn’t.

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