TeDEEous, the Greek god of beer marketing

Hat’s off to Bob Garfield who today takes issue with the gender stereotyping in beer advertising:

[Men] are die cut and stamped, tumbling off the conveyor into the Man Hopper, programmed to drink beer, watch football, barbecue meat and fall asleep moments after forgetting she has needs, too.

We are all, in short, Adam Carrola.

But hold on just one second. Adam Carrola’s a dick.

Yet, lots and lots of beer advertising is content to tar all of us with the same brush, to reduce us to cartoon characters of masculinity.

Garfield writes in praise of the Droga5 spot for Foster’s Victoria Bitter.

[W]hat makes it work as advertising is the recognition that you can be simultaneously distinctive and part of a larger whole, an individual bloke and a part of something larger. An ordinary beer-swilling dick, and a very special dick unto yourself.

Splendid.  At the very moment, marketing is finding new ways to talk about women (Dove, etc.), it’s image of men is now predictable.  It’s not in fact offensive.  Much of the “men as dogs, dolts, dopes” advertising can be funny.  Men like this image of themselves.  No, the problem is that it’s verging on the tedious.  The joke is wearing thin.  Verily, it has jumped the shark.

Guys will go along with this sort of thing for a little while longer.  We don’t mind being portrayed as dogs, dolts and dopes.  What we don’t like it being seen as cliches.  Call us stupid and obvious, but don’t you dare suggest we have drifted off the cultural moment.  (And what goes for men goes doubly for the ad agency that makes the ads men watch.)

Thank you, Droga5 and Bob Garfield, for getting the ball rolling. 

References

Garfield, Bob.  2009.  Most Interesting Men in the World Appear in the VB Spot:  Finally, Droga5’s Beer Ad Captures the Varied Glory of Manhood.  Adage.com.  July 20.  here.

See the VB ad here

4 thoughts on “TeDEEous, the Greek god of beer marketing”

  1. Indeed, I read recently that nearly 8 in 10 dads believe that being a good father is one of their defining traits and that the stereotype of the aloof father is outmoded.

  2. Pour Austrialians

    Grant, I understand your point about this ad jumping the shark—being the penultimate in what’s wrong with beer advertising stereotypes—I would counter that it’s also the best of what’s right. It’s infinitely watchable and enjoyable and just a good bit of fun. And I think that’s what the majority of Australian beer drinkers want.

    That’s the role beer plays in their lives, it’s a simple pleasure, to be consumed with friends, while watching sports, while BBQ-ing. VB makes a daring, and brilliant play to own the position of “the drinking beer”. So much so that this spot is “the watchable beer advert” and (for the 2 minute launch version) is long enough to enjoy while drinking a beer.

    Ultimately, it’s the Australian beer drinker who will decide if VB/Droga5 has drifted from the cultural moment, or defined a new one.

  3. Jeff has a point. I also agree with Grand that the approach is all but inventive. Yet, there’s another side to it. Stereotypes make people feel safe and in control. They make the world seem simple and predictable. These are feelings that resonate quite well with your average (male) beer drinking experience. Sure, there’s room for other beer experiences and meanings, but I don’t think we’re quite over these ones yet. Cheers!

Comments are closed.