The following advertisement is for Budweiser Beer. Today we see an intense competition played out in America over domestic verses foreign import brands. Characters in our narrative are not Disney types but more Reality Show types. This story is a search to define what the “true” man is and the audience identify with him. Hopefully the Budweiser beer is the drink “cool” American people will imbibe in. Reality shows like our advertisement communicates false images rooted in bias and prejudices of its authors. One may question, who is the “Bud” man, will he sell their product, and how is a beer the means of providing a life?
In the method of reading for meaning we are instructed to lay out the story line of the author, the events of the narrative depend upon a previous Budweiser advertisement. As drinkers of beer usually have a problem with memory the authors may be hoping for more than they get for assuming one recalls a past advertisement. To be unaware of the past advertisement would put the observer at a disadvantage in understanding the parody of the present story. The narrative is simple; three white men of upper class socioeconomic status play off against the previous advertisement as a spoof on what a “real” man is because of what he drinks. In the first advertisement they focus on cool drinkers who only purchase Budweiser Beer. The present three characters are not quite as cool, but individuals that need to get a life for themselves. The kairos moment comes when two black men are deemed cool because they have a Budweiser Beer, a life and apparently watch television. This revealing moment seeps in when the audience responds with a wow! The realization that its beer that turns out to be the dynamics necessary for having a cool life.
The advertisement assumptions tells us that if we drink import beers we are most likely boring and live lives that are meaningless. Domestic beers are what “real” men consume and give them a sixth sense to see shallowness in others and especially in geeks. As for the solid rock cool people this advertisement ends with two couch potatoes looking at a television show where our three not so cool lives of artificiality and superciliousness are lived out. Real men are the same who drink “Budweiser” and watch misfit uncool types imbibe fake beers that are not even American. Their advertisement infuses a transformation of cultural values that plays on racial and patriotic biases. The kairos however, is not enlightenment but a play on language and an effort to shift meaning on specific words.
The technique of reading as a writer shows us three white guys as upper class geeks that live out a life of meaningless dialogue and boring activities. We hear seven times in the advertisement, the phrase, “what are you doing?” There is however, an impressive and varied hearing of that phrase expressed in different intonations and punctuations. The answer to the question is direct, nothing, because it reflects an uncool life of sheer boredom. There is also the repetition of the word “correct” which gives an affirmation to the boredom of living without a “Budweiser.” It can be expected that in the meaninglessness of the human encounter we are giving Becket’s “Waiting of Godot” where non “Bud” drinkers are living aimless lives and waiting to be enlightened by the true Godot man. Yelling at each other may be the most important event where there is nothing to say to each other than let others know that at least they exist. It is a symbolic yell for help not for the three import drinkers but for the advertisement to end. They have nothing to say because they do not have a life. The cause of their human condition is that they are drinking the wrong beer. The yelling, however, does appear to fit the scene better than the dialogue.
The cool drinkers peering at the three import consumers quickly look at each other as if to say they have a life because they are holding a Budweiser. Yet the look at each other is unconvincing to the audience and one is left wondering as to the status of their place in life. They are couch potatoes glued to the T.V. and drinking a Budweiser Beer. Are they macho sports fans with no specific geography but just a boring life to watch television sports and reality shows? The observer is left without an answer but can surmise the type of life they really might have with a “Bud.”
The logos or rational argument in the advertisement is week and unmoving for its audience. It begs the question as to the consequences of its story and of what we define as having a cool life. The rational jump from import beers to existential meaningless communication proves little for the two cool drinkers at the end of the narrative. One is left trying to sort out how a boring life transformed a plastered man in a state of stupor from a Budweiser.
They are three upper class white guys who do not have a life of their own? The values of the writers are clear in their narrative. One of the import drinkers is interested in the stock market so he must be involved in investing. He possibly has a job in that particular area whereby we cannot determine what form of employment our two cool domestic drinkers hold down. A second import drinker in search of a life is a tennis player which is not manly enough for a “Bud” man. A third may be an Ivey League type as he likes to wear his sweeter around his neck and make a statement of his royal blood. There is little appeal to the logos of the argument but much more to that of its pathos. The audience is moved by images that affect an emotional reaction in the viewer. We feel the senselessness of their dialogue, superficiality in their lives and it is captured in a quick smile of the two Bud drinkers identified as cool. The viewer feels the emptiness in their lives and false personas display towards each other. It is not a sorrow one feels for them but a pity because they are all out of step with reality. How could we identify with couch potatoes acting cool because of a beer brand? It is a good example of how persuasive techniques package a product to impacts ones life, and gives them a false identity of what is a cool life.
The characters of the three upper class types carry no authority even though they may be self made men but what does the matter because they do not know what a good beer is. Two television watchers, however, posses character because they drink the right beer. The advertisement is an emotional response for its viewers and not a rational view. Its effort to take the values of business men, sports individual and Ivey leaguer and turn them into negative values falls short of their goals. They have little more to say to each other than to yell which is a stretch of the imagination.
What is real for the writer is a cool life and that turns out to be a Budweiser beer drinker. Yet one has to wonder who has the life, the three import drinkers or two Budweiser beer drinkers. Language dominates the persuasion tone of the advertisement and is not evident in the characters themselves or in the locality of the narrative. There words create a silliness of dialogue which seeks an emotional reaction in the observer. Loaded with internal prejudices it targets television sports men but definitely not tennis players or stock market investors because they possibly are out working and enjoying a rich life. The effort to connect this advertisement to the previous one is risky, especially if one did not see it nor can remember it. To remember the past advertisement one would than see a humorous comparison to its present players. It suddenly offers up a new definition of what real men are and what cool men drink. The socioeconomic bias is merely humorous but never convincing as a technique of persuasion. Lastly, while the humor in this ad was persuasive the simple fact that a Budweiser could never taste as good a cold Corona or a stouty Guinness, is what discourages me from Budweiser!