An Ad Analysis of Budweiser: The Great American Lager
What does beer do for you? This is the question you may ask yourself when thinking about buying a six pack of beer for a party, getting ready to socialize, or just hang out and relax with some friends. In their advertisement campaigns, Budweiser attempts to embody these situations in a way that will leave you thinking that you need Budweiser. Budweiser creates a setting in their ads that their target audience will be compliant with.
Often times, beer advertisements formulate in images that idolize a man’s perspective, and portrays men as the protagonist of the fun and humor, as well as objectifies women. It is common for companies to use sexual persuasion in their ads by using images of attractive and barely clothed women. Sexual persuasion is used especially when trying to sell to men, but can also be persuasive to women.
This advertisement was from a sports illustrated swimsuit edition in 2008.
It depicts an Olympic track and field athlete Brianna Glenn, posing in a swimsuit and red stilettoes, next to a super-sized, dripping Budweiser beer. This ad also contains a red background, the Budweiser logo, and their slogan “the great American lager”. The use of this attractive, Olympic athlete, wearing nothing but a bikini uses several ad strategies. This ad uses an Olympic athlete, as a timing strategy. This ad most likely came out around the same time as the Beijing Olympics, so the track and field star is relevant in what people are already paying attention to at the time, which brings more attention to their product. We see this often in sponsorship at games, where a company is able to insert itself into a facet of our interests. Also, having an American athlete pose in their ad during the Olympics reminds the audience of Budweiser’s credibility as the “Great American Lager”.
The most prominent persuasive strategy used in this ad is using sexual images to create interest in their product. Many companies will use attractive women to sell a product because it is convincing, and not only to men. Research shows that women are influenced by sexual images of other women in advertising. Women trust that an ad correctly depicts what a woman’s sexual allure should seem like. Women trust this image is accurate, so they adopt the ideas and desire for the product. In this advertisement, Budweiser hyper-sexualizes female athletes, as well as women of color. Not only does Budweiser put an almost naked woman in their ad, but they use a physically strong, popular woman, and compare her to a beer bottle. This use of images drives the audience to think sexually about Budweiser. Women and Men in America may idolize this woman, and by objectifying her this way makes us believe that Budweiser has the potential to do this to women in general.
The audience of an ad selling sex will believe that the product will allow them to hone the sexual images depicted by the company. Seemingly, a near naked athlete will make men think if they have a Budweiser, women will want to be sexy and naked around them. Budweiser, and a lot of other companies selling alcohol, use sex to create feelings of attraction or envy, which in one way or another is an effective way to put their product in the spotlight. The next ad I looked at was a TV commercial also by Budweiser. Based on a group of males sitting at home, this commercial starts with small talk over the phone between two guys on the couch watching football. The two males ask each other what they are doing, both responding “nothing, just sitting at home, watching the game, drinking a bud”. After the two friends establish that they are doing the same thing, a more entertaining friend enters the conversation by screaming a loud “WAAZZAAAP!” to his friend on the phone.
This escalates quickly into a barrage of ‘wazzap’ between all the friends, which is effectively funny (it got me to laugh). After this entertaining moment, the friends continue their phone conversation, and ask again “So what’re you up to man?”, with a reply “You know, just watching the game drinking a bud”. The friend ends the commercial with a one word response, “True,” which then appears on the screen next to the Budweiser logo. In this television advertisement, Budweiser is able to depict a real life situation that their target audience would find themselves in, and use this image to their advantage in several ways.
This ‘wazzap’ advertisement by Budweiser uses bandwagon and plain-folk to persuade the audience that their product is worth buying. Budweiser hopes that whoever enjoys watching this commercial will adopt the ideals depicted in this commercial, and apply it to their personal lives. Perhaps someone watching this commercial didn’t associate with this lifestyle, but after enjoying the commercial they wanted to adopt the entertaining lifestyle that these guys were experiencing.
Budweiser targets anyone who wants to have a good time with their friends in a casual setting, and portrays this setting in a more entertaining way, so that people will jump on this new entertaining trend. Budweiser is able to “weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life,” Budweiser is especially successful when glorifying the lifestyle of watching football and drinking beer because of their notoriety in supporting an American lifestyle. The audience then respects Budweiser for bringing this kind of lifestyle to their attention, and wants to join in or support the lifestyle by buying their product.
Budweiser is an iconic brewing company, like how Coca-Cola is an iconic soda. This notoriety gives Budweiser the credibility to portray what is normal for their audience to do in their spare time. However, the commercial does this by idolizing a lifestyle that our society believes is essential to how a man spends his spare time; sitting on a couch, relaxing, watching football, and drinking a beer. Budweiser has a special place in American brewing, so instead of coming up with some brand new ad strategy idea, they put a fun spin on this plain-folk image that their product already embodies.
Men often center their spare time on professional sports, but Budweiser is able to “stand out as one bright spot in an otherwise boring party,” and excite the audience. The phrase “just having a bud and watching the game,” is what the moral of the commercial encircles. The audience believes by the end of this ad, that drinking a ‘bud’ is an essential part of the good-times lifestyle the audience is familiar with. The audience is familiar with the images depicted in the commercial, and therefore, believe that they should have a Budweiser if they want to continue to be comfortable with that lifestyle.
Budweiser did a really good job in being persuasive to the average, middle-aged male through capturing a moment that most people have experienced with their friends. Also, Budweiser has the ability to sell sex as an image to boost its notoriety in American society. Budweiser aims it’s advertisements at guys who drink beer. Ipso Facto, the commercials and ads will include images and ideas that are plain folk to men, or that will further the idea behind these images and create a bandwagon. Although men are being shown a lifestyle they already know, Budwieser allows them to believe they should embrace these ideas. Works Cited:
LaTour, Kathryn; LaTour, Michael S; Zinkhan, George, M. “Coke is It: How stories in childhood memories illuminate an icon” Journal of Business Research, Pg 328-330 Gillum, Scott. “Why Sex Sells.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 25 July 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2013
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