July 9, 2008

Mug Shots - Venting the chug

The classic Coors Light television ad of recent years depicts a mumbling dolt of a husband transfixed by shiny blue-tinted mountains on his revolutionary “cold-activated” bottle of Rockies-style Perrier. His wife tries in vain to share the results of her similarly color-coded pregnancy test. Does she glean a fresh perspective on her chosen sperm donor? We can only hope so. After all, counseling is available.

A favored marketing strategy of megabrewers is to depict their target audience as a bunch of blithering idiots, an exercise in honesty that may actually be commendable given the customary excesses of advertising. Accordingly, the Silver Bullet now boasts a new twist: venting. 

An attractive female with a Bride magazine in hand reacts sympathetically as her Ken doll concocts a flimsy excuse about a friend in need of “venting.” She encourages him to go, apparently on the assumption that men actually do share hankies and innermost secrets. Predictably, the “vent” in question isn’t touchy-feely. It’s a newly configured can that “lets air in,” permitting the beer to be poured more quickly while the men watch football.

Poured into what? The ad first shows the beer cascading from the can into the air, suggesting that the alcoholic soda pop is falling into a glass, pitcher, bucket or leftover Rally’s sack. However, our closing glimpse of the “venting” party shows four men dumping the insipid liquid directly into their mouths, as is the custom in America.

Why pretend? The vent is about nothing except consuming alcohol at a faster rate, and as I’ve noted many times before, lowest-common-denominator advertising like this is exactly what makes life harder for all of us, because it amounts to an open invitation to prohibitionists and health fascists to attack swill purveyor and craft brewer alike.

But heck — I’m just venting.


Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit www.potablecurmudgeon.com

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