I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I’m generally a fan of the double entendre and the wit it often employs, but this Bud Light Lime ad seems less witty and more coarse, low-brow and unsophisticated. Klassy with a “K.” And I say that not because of its naked and unsubtle allusions to sex or because — gasp — children might see it. I’m not personally offended in any way. But regardless of what I think about Bud Light Lime, it hardly shows beer in a positive light. It may be the least respectful ad since Miller’s infamous mud wrestling ad or Bud’s recently flatulent horse.
Created by the ad agency DDB Chicago, so far the reaction has been mixed, yet both sides seem to prove my point that this is not the way to portray beer if we want anyone to take it seriously. (And before anyone chimes in with “but it’s just Bud Light,” like all advertising it accumulates to the overall perception of beer by society at large, so I believe it does matter.) On one hand, Advertising Age says In Juvenile Bud Light Lime Spot, This Butt’s for You, finding it too tasteless to be effective. They conclude:
Crude ads are, of course, nothing new in the category that brought the world the “Swedish Bikini Team,” but they’ve been a bit scarce since Miller Brewing Co.’s bottom-scraping use of bikini-clad mudwrestlers in a 2003 “tastes great, less filling” brawl.
That ad sparked wide recriminations about how lowest-common-denominator advertising turns the product into a commodity indistinguishable by any measure other than whose proprietor has lower standards. For a while after, advertisers toned it down, taking a back seat to fast-food chains and even domain registrars when it came to over-the-top ads.
But perhaps our long national nightmare of relatively tasteful beer ads is coming to an end at last.
But BrandFreak’s Kenneth Hein felt that it is the best thing Bud Light’s done in a while,” completely disagreeing with Advertising Age.
The problem with Bud Light and beer advertising in general is that brands are afraid to have fun. Sure, thinly veiled anal-sex jokes appeal to “the lowest common denominator,” but who cares? We’re talking about beer. A-B and its agencies need to have a couple and loosen up even more, because its recent run of ads have been a buzzkill.
But here’s where he proves my point. He likes the ad precisely because it’s tasteless as he writes “who cares? We’re talking about beer.” And that’s the rub. It perpetuates the perception that beer is just beer, nothing more. And that’s the belief a vast majority of people hold, which I think is almost entirely the fault of of ads like this one. Only the breweries that can afford to advertise on television nationally get their message to consumers. And for decades, that message has appealed to a lowest-common denominator ethos that’s painted beer as an interchangeable commodity. Only the brand is important, because for most of those beer companies, what’s inside is virtually the same. So you sell other ideas, and end up with a populace that perceives all beer as being the same. And that overall perception is hardly flattering. So most people tend to believe that beer is all the same; it’s just that swill that frat boys drink at tailgate parties or while binge-drinking their way through college.
And I hardly think this ad will change that. What do you think about it?