Ah, beer commercials. If any particular product segment gives advertisers a chance to get creative, it’s commercials trying to sell you a frosty brew. The genre gave us such gems as The Most Interesting Man in the World, and what we can only assume is Heineken’s version of the younger most interesting man in the world.
Needless to say, we expect a lot from beer commercials. Here’s our take on three of the genre’s latest contenders:
Leave it to the Australians to capture irreverence. This commercial is everything a beer commercial should be – bad-ass, funny, epic, and straight out of the 80’s. When four bank robbers find themselves ordering a round of Carlton Draughts in the same pub as a dozen cops, a hilarious chase ensues that hits every trope in the movie-chase-sequence book. The ad gives a big shout out to all the movies men love, and uses this shared culture to create a bond with the audience.
Miller Lite is up against the same monumental challenge as other light beer manufacturers – light beer is almost ubiquitously viewed as uncool. With this commercial, we think Miller has finally figured out how to market its product effectively. The vintage-inspired cinematography perfectly compliments the argument, which goes a little like this: Miller Lite invented light beer, which resulted in fitter men, who were more desirable to women, which resulted in sexual relations, which created YOU. The logic leap works well here, and provides the right amount of quirk for a beer commercial.
On the other hand, the “Whatever, USA” Bud Light commercials that have been running all summer haven’t impressed as much as their competitors. The title character is a kooky Captain Morgan-type, but seems a little too formulaic. The “fun” participants look very much like spring break college students, a demographic not everyone is fond of. Finally, “Whatever USA” is meant to be a town that exudes the attitude of “Being down for whatever,” but with the blandness of these commercials, Budweiser risks viewers instead thinking “Whatever, Bud Light”.
As you can see, the line between hilarious and cheesy, between genius and run-of-the-mill is a fine one. And while you probably don’t have an entire ad agency designing your next campaign like these companies do, we hope you’ve picked up a thing or two about what makes great advertising work.