I just want to weigh in on this advert. I too saw it and said words and had thoughts that are not appropriate for our audience, or even my mother. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. Secondly, I would like to put on my historian hat, this beer advert commits the sin that so many of them do; they equate oldness with somehow being better. They make the case that, because they have been brewing Budweiser since 1879, it’s superior to other brands that have only just sprung up. Using this logic hand washing is better than a washing machine – horse and carriage is better than a car, or my 75 year old grandad is more capable of running a marathon than myself. It’s basically saying the status quo is a good thing, the way things are is the best way, you’ve drank us for so long, we are what you love and trying new things is dangerous. I love pizza, it doesn’t mean I want to eat it every day of my life. I want variety, something they are saying is somewhat incorrect.
Using their logic, Budvar, the recipe that Budweiser is based on [I say ‘based on’ because I’m not allowed to say they stole it, and I don’t wish to go into early American copyright law at this moment], Budvar has been brewed since 1265 and using your logic we can assume this is a better beer. Ok, i do have to contend that it is. Not by much buts it’s still a very solid beer. In my own country we have a beer that dates back to 380 CE – when Attila the hun was marching through the Balkans, just to put it into a little context for you all – and the brewery still produces many beers that would blow your socks off, not to mention that one of my local breweries is less than 5 years old and they produce an oatmeal stout thats as smooth as anything. What I’m trying to say is age doesn’t equate to quality, and trying to make me think otherwise is not a good thing. Claiming there’s only one Budweiser is also wrong, there’s two but now I think I’m just being petty.
I didn’t want to do a deep analysis of this I assure you. There are so many things I would rather do with my time, but it’s angered me so. It got into my brain and festered and ate at me until I just had to let it spew. They proudly claim that “Budweiser is not a beer to be fussed over” and I for one agree with this point. This is more than likely due to its awful taste and complete lack of substance. They then show what I assume is a typical craft beer drinker. Now I’m from England, and I can assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a man who goes to a lot of festivals and pubs and regularly drinks beers from many different places, the typical craft beer drinker, and i use typical in a very loose way, he’s nothing special. He’s a normal person. The fact that it’s a man would counter many of the places I know, because in my experience women are far more likely to try and love craft beer than their male counterparts, but that may have something to do with the perception of women that they drink wine, which is traditionally more varied than beer. They thankfully didn’t show him with a scarf and other things that the hipsters have ruined… Personally, I would contend that the typical male drinker looks somewhat like myself: tall, bearded, hoodie and a little overweight. In other words, a perfectly normal person who we all see every day in every walk of life. They did imply this, though, by showing that mustache, and I take offence to that mustache – not due to any dislike of them, but to my own jealously at not being able to grow one.
This is followed by some buzz words that one would normally associate with craft beer drinkers. Methinks that Budweiser is trying to co-opt these words in the hope of derailing the ever-growing craft brewing scene within America, an industry that has only seen sales increase at the expense of the big guys, an industry that now commands 9% of the market whereas a decade ago it would have been 1. Budweiser is a sinking ship and they’re trying to plug the hole. Here’s an idea Bud; make good beer and perhaps – just perhaps – we’ll buy them.
Next they claim that Budweiser is brewed for drinking not dissecting. I will admit I dissect beers. I write a beer blog where I mainly review beers and my brain is now hard-wired to do it. They also contend that I don’t drink it, I’d argue, and so would my doctor. If I’m honest, I drink more than the average person, I regularly go out with friends and drink in pubs. I mean, just this Saturday I went out and woke up on Sunday spooning my dog [no that is not a euphemism for a woman, it was literally my pet, i was a little tipsy]. I would say that I’m not the typical Budweiser drinker – the typical Budweiser drinker, and the one they have shown in all their previous adverts, has been a stay at home watching the game with his buddies drinker. I’m the go to the pub, get drunk put the world back on track drinker and that’s the way I like it. This change in how they view their customers, though, has me interested in what the future holds for Budweiser.
They also claim that people who drink their beer like beer. Do I not like beer? I mean, I’d say I have an unhealthy appetite for beer, but ok… This is an age old thing advertisers do, they try to argue you to get on their side. What they are saying is, “If you don’t like Bud, then you can’t like beer. It’s the Richard Dawkins moment in The God Delusion all over again. For those of you who have not read it (and I don’t recommend that you do), he makes the point that the smarter you are, the less you’ll believe in god, therefore saying if you’re smart, you’ll believe this, and to think differently from me makes you dumb. No one is going to openly admit to being dumb. Another prime example is the kings new clothes, the old story about the king going out naked because he was told that intelligent people can see the fabric, and he goes along with it for fear of appearing dumb. This is exactly what Budweiser are doing at this moment and, by god, they couldn’t be more obvious about it.
This attack on craft beer is so shocking, especially considering they’ve been buying them up left right and centre, but I think this is more about keeping the faithful on board rather than converting us craft beer drinkers to their cause.
Martin’s note: I was also dumbfounded by this advert. I saw it as a cynical, shallow and slightly manipulative minute, packed with compelling visuals and a thumping beat to keep people’s attention, whilst giving them information overload to confuse them. So much of it is totally irrelevant to the beer. The scale of production, for example. Why are they proud to be a Macro brewer? Why? Because they make more money, right? That’s all I can think of – it’s not like they can be proud they’ve brought a life-changing product to the masses because, despite being beechwood aged [hey, I thought they said they weren’t fussing over details…], it still tastes of shit poured from a rusty bathtub. The rest of it is all schlock about ‘we’re old, therefore authentic’ and ‘anyone who does things different to us is a bit of a div, ’cause we’re so cool like’. And how is it brewed the hard way? What is ‘the hard way’? Oh sod it, I give up on that one…
To people who haven’t yet had the pleasure of craft beer, this could be damaging. It could reinforce the notion [not even just in beer tasting terms, but beyond that as well] that conformity is key and pours scorn on people enjoying one of many rich experiences that life has to offer. I do like to appreciate more than just one facet of the things I consume, even just briefly. Put simply, it’s a waste just to taste beer when you can like the way it looks and smells. I don’t particularly mind Budweiser having a pop at ‘the group I belong to’ [a group bound very loosely], but it could encourage others to look down on us too, thereby decreasing their chances of giving new experiences a go, and maybe offending other people who like that sort of thing.
Anyway, that’s just the way of the world isn’t it? Click here for Hardknott Dave’s beer and stuff blog. It’ll bring a bit of balance to mine and Paul’s thoughts. I recommend reading the comments, too, as Dave took the time to reply to rather ineloquent message and echoed some of Paul’s sentiments.
Hope you enjoyed reading our rant!