Vapid Reaction: Budweiser Messes with Mr. In-Between
At some point between my being angry the Patriots were winning, being angry the Patriots had won, being angry the Patriots existed as a football franchise, being angry Seattle’s defense had spent the fourth quarter playing like Teletubbies, being angry my stomach’s capacity is far below my desired “infinite,” and being angry Seattle’s offensive coordinator called a play so insipid I honestly felt like I could have made that interception — and I don’t mean “if I was an NFL player, I could have made that interception.” I mean I could’ve jumped through my television before that play, lined up at nickel, with no pads on, and made that interception. Probably. Maybe.
Somewhere within that bhut jolokia sauce of emotions, I saw a Budweiser commercial.
Oh, and social media was alive with the mockery. It ranged from salient points (“Why do you keep buying up micro-breweries if you’re so proud of being a macro-beer?”) to empty remarks that served no other purpose than to let everyone know you saw it (“HAHAHAHAHA!”, etc.).
Most of the commentary came from the very people Budweiser, at least in message, gave up on appealing to. I can tell you the type of person Budweiser was after in that commercial, though … because it was me.
It didn’t work.
I don’t dissect beers when I drink them. I drink it, decide whether I like it, and identify what I like or don’t like. This is rarely a drawn-out or verbal process. My wife and I will discuss a brew if it wows us, but before long we’re back to hard-hitting topics like dumb baby names and Day 9 of the Weather Channel’s extended forecast. Occasionally, we (gasp!) drink a macro-brew.
So why did we not rush out to buy a 72-pack of Buds, then? Simple: Just because we don’t turn every beer into a panel discussion doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good beer. From that commercial, I took away that Budweiser assumes there’s no middle ground: You’re either drinking a Bud without a care in the world or you’re a snooty basement cicerone, and you need to choose right now.
That just isn’t true. I know very few people who pore over beers the way that “ad-verrr-tiss-ment” depicts, and all of those folks (brewers, beer writers) need to examine them such. Otherwise, I’ve never overheard a bar-side beer critique go on for more than more than a sip or two. God I hate the Patriots.
I respect Budweiser’s ownership of the “macro” tag, and I get what they were trying to do, but it was divisive and easily seen through. Of course Bud isn’t meant to be fussed over — it tastes like rain gutter output. Our macro-beer go-tos (Hamm’s, Hamm’s, and Hamm’s) don’t taste a ton better, but what sets Budweiser apart from Hamm’s if you’re drinking it just for drinking’s sake? Because it’s “made the hard way?” Give me a break.
Micro-exclusive drinkers are outraged, but in-between drinkers (or at least this one) are angry on two levels. AB insinuated we don’t know how Budweiser is made, while simultaneously making a caricature of our craft-loving side. These were the potential buyers AB should have been after. Now, thanks to that commercial, it’s a safe bet many of them won’t be walking out with Budweisers anytime soon. I’d previously broached that AB let Budweiser fall off the radar, then bank on a PBR-type revival. Good luck with that now.
The Patriots can kiss my ass.
*Edited Feb. 3 to clear out some redundancies.