Wednesday, February 27, 2008

But He Has Bud Light

Labatt Blue commercial - It's the weekend

Guinness ad - Rugby World Cup 2007

Beer Me - Duncombe and Beer Advertising: Response to Reading

Beer – the world’s oldest and most popular alcoholic beverage. Most people can’t list the breweries in their country alone – especially in beer hot spots like Germany, The UK, The US and Canada because they are so plentiful. It goes without saying that beer ads are all over the place(usually with scantilly clad, sexy women helping to sell to the predominantly male buyers) , and beer conglomerates will spend millions if not billions in advertising to lure certain types of drinkers in. Being that I work at Canada’s third largest brewery, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at Duncombe’s chapter on advertising and how it translates to the beer industry.Of course, dissecting my own company’s ads could hurt buyers, which could then put me out of work, but we can take an in depth look at big players from Canada (John Labatt’s Blue), Ireland (Guinness) and The US (Budweiser). This will hopefully shed some light on the international beer scene.

In the opening pages of his chapter on advertising, Duncombe states, "ads make their pitch not to our heads but to our hearts (or anatomy a bit lower)"(Duncombe 79). By this Duncombe means that advertisers aim to pull consumers in by appealing to what means the most to them, whether its sport, weekend antics or sex. Consider the above ad with the Bud Light girl - "Life is good" boasts the ad. Bud Light is trying to convey to consumers that life is good when you consume their product, but also that sexy women drink their beer. What kind of drinker would buy this beer if the ad depicted an unattractive or average looking woman - very few. Drinkers want to consume the same products as beautiful people do in order to become beautiful, special, etc.

"All advertising is about transformation. The product advertised will transform you from what your are (incomplete, inadequate and thoroughly normal) into what you would like to be (fulfilled, successful and completely special)." (Duncombe 80) Both the Guinness and Labatt video advertisements above play on this principal. With the Guinness ad, Guinness tries to imply that by consuming their product the average Rugby viewer or Rugby player can be carried by their team through spirit and unity to glory on the pitch. However the Labatt's ad seems to work on many different plains with respect to this principal. The average joe, office workers, etc. are all shown coming out of their shells and becoming weekend warriors while drinking with friends. Blue is trying to promote their product by showing that the average joe transforms into a hooligan and can embody youth and exhuberance while drinking Labatt's. Although Labatt's shows these average people becoming fulfilled, the ad also works to show people who are already successful and fulfilled being transformed to the thoroughly normal. In this way, Labatt has made itself accessible to a much larger demographic than Guinness or Budweiser. It is important to note that Labatt's is domestic - meaning the price is neither cheap nor expensive but mid-range, and this advertising ploy helps to maintain the average drinker but also may draw in people who spend more money on imported beers, as well as those who spend less money on beer.

Individualizing advertisements is difficult for most advertisers, but where there is a will there is a way. Of individualizing the product, Duncombe writes, "It is natural for advertisers to address the individual. They want individual people to buy individual products, and their model world is composed of individual units in pursuit of self-gratification." (Duncombe 85) The Bud Light TV advertisement above helps to illustrate what Duncombe is referring to. The man hitchhiking with an axe and case of Bud Light is individualized, and picked up by the average joe and his girlfriend merely because he is a Bud Light drinker. Bud Light is attempting to say 'if you drink Bud Light - you're a good person" through this advertisement, which also plays on Duncombe's theory of transformation. However, this ad individualizes its drinkers by showing an axe weilding psycho, which leads me to believe it was probably aired around Halloween or on some horror movie network in order to grab the attention of people who are fascinated with horror. The Labatt Blue advertisement above also individualizes with the pictures of all different sorts of their drinkers and their weekend antics appearing before the 'Cheers to Friends' slogan. Guinness also plays upon this by directing their ad at Rugbyer's (please take note this ad was aired during the Rugby World Cup 2007 during match commercial breaks).
Works Cited

Duncombe, Stephen. Dream: Reimagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. New York: The New Press, 2007.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For the Love of Rugby and Parody: Response to Class Discussion

For some, February is the month of ‘love’ being that the 14th is Valentines Day. However, since I was young February has also held a different type of importance to me. Never could I love a person as much as I love my sport – Rugby, a gentleman’s game enjoyed by ruffians and hooligans.

February marks the beginning of two very important tournaments in the sport – The Six Nations (comprised of England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy & France) as well as the Super 14 (a club tournament with 5 South African, 5 New Zealand and 4 Australian club teams). In keeping with our class discussion of fake news, irony and parody within the media I came across a wide array of images and articles relating to these three topics. Of course, what better way to spread Valentines love with the help of Rugby and fake news?

Being that my heritage is English it goes against the grain of my nature to promote such garbage teams as France and hopefully you will forgive me for being biased because of my pride. The images I found were generated after England won the Webb Ellis (the sport’s most important trophy/ the World Cup) in 2003 by defeating Australia in overtime in Sydney, Australia. Below are some ironic images England used post-World Cup to assert their new status as World Champions. My particular favourite is the Sydney Opera House with St. George's flag and the English Rose slapped across it.

In the 2007 World Cup, England went in as the massive underdog, with Ireland and South Africa looking extremely strong and in beautiful form. That’s not to say the English didn’t have their fun with parody and propaganda to promote their way through the tournament. Perhaps their fun loving nature depicted by the images below was what motivated them to a final with heavy favourites South Africa Springboks. Please take note; we did beat Australia in quarter finals, with several depressed Aussie having to be assisted by mates to the help lines below. Also, the dominant hand of English Rugby squashed French hopes in semi-finals (on their own soil nonetheless, being as RWC 2007 was held in France), much like a dirty Englishmen squishing a frog in his hand (sorry if this is culturally offensive to French readers).

A final with the South Africans was set and England had left all other teams in utter disbelief because of their weak pool play. But things had turned around lately for English fans with their surprising big wins over Rugby giants France (for a 'spoof' pre-match assessment see article 3 below) and Australia. A close game, some poor refereeing and some stupid penalties on England’s part helped the South Africans hoist the Webb Ellis on the 20th of October 2007. However, the following day vital information disallowing South Africa the cup was discovered (please see links below for full articles.)

"The South African team were boarding their Apartheid Airlines flight for their triumphant journey home when the story broke and French Air Traffic controllers refused to give the aircraft clearance for take off.

After armed Gendarmes boarded the plane and arrested full back Percy Montgomery the World Cup was seized and tagged as stolen property, the
Springboks were taken from the aircraft in disgrace, Habana was close to tears,"I just cant believe it! They said if we won they would let me sit on a seat on the way home and even have some food."A Rugby World Cup Attorney confirmed this afternoon that Montgomery had been found to be ineligible because he is under contract to Steven Spielberg's Production company, Dreamworks and has been cast as Prince Charming in the next 39 Shrek Films." (see link 1 for full article)

If only this were true, I would be one happy Englishman. However, after reading this article I had a good chuckle and realized there is always 2011 to bring the cup back to England. also had another interesting article regarding English Rugby. On February 2nd, 2008, England opened their Six Nations campaign against Wales at Twickenham (their home field in London). Being that Wales hadn’t won at Twickenham in roughly 25 years, I was relatively disappointed when they beat England. Since England’s national soccer team haven’t won a FIFA World Cup since 1966, and have grown even worse since the appearance of the notorious ‘David Beckham’, I found article relieving. At least someone could make light of the current state of British sport.

The English rugby team has found itself in hot water with the government's watchdog for mediocrity. The Council for Underperformance in National Teams has launched an investigation into how the England XV nearly won at Twickenham yesterday.The unfortunately acronymed Council made the following statement: "We are pleased at how poorly the England Football and Cricket teams have been playing recently, and the results have enabled England to maintain its worldwide reputation for being perennial losers. We were apalled at the dominant position the England rugby team had achieved after forty minutes. Praise should go to Brian Ashton whose team talk at half time did the trick and allowed Wales to beat us." - (see link 2 for full article)

I hope my exploration of parody and Rugby was entertaining. If I had of had the time to throw together a proper thesis for this piece it probably would have read something like ‘my essay will attempt to prove that a) parody is useful to relieve tension and make light of situations and b) by some miracle of God, Rugby players are now able not only to lay big hits and consume alcohol in vast quantities, but scientists have discovered they are now trying to associated with other human beings by attempting speech and the most advanced specimens studied can even joke and parody things.


Article 1 -
Article 2 -
Article 3 -

Other Rugby Spoofs: