A Decade of Beer Ads: The 2000’s

18 01 2010

Today is the sixth and final segment of a series of posts where we will hastily derive sociological statements about American Beer Culture through beer advertisements found on YouTube.

The 2000’s: The Decade Where the World Could Really Go For a Beer Right About Now- Let’s face it, the 2000’s were a pretty rough time for every one. It started with a recession caused by the Internet Bubble of the ’90’s bursting. A rough election between Bush and Gore. A spy plane crashing into China almost started WWIII. 9/11. Two nasty and unpopular wars. Another rough election between Bush and Kerry. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Another recession after the worst economic melt down in eighty years. And a rough election between Obama and McCain. If there was any decade where people could have really gone for a beer, it was that one.

Luckily, beer had hit a highpoint not seen since the early 20th century. The rise in a globalized beer market meant we can drink just about any beer made just about anywhere in the world. And the rise of the American Craft Brew scene meant we did not have to rely on Budweiser, Miller and Coors.

For the first time, Boston Brewing Company–makers of Samuel Adams–was able to start advertising nationally. Here is one where they explain why they chose the name “Samuel Adams”. Notice the not too subtle use of patriotism in a post 9/11 America. Even if the patriot message was evident, it was still a lot more tasteful than some other ads.

By the end of the decade, Sam Adams would become the most popular craft brewery in America. And other micro and craft breweries would begin displaying their own ads on TV and radio.

While craft beers were beginning to make headway into the beer market and as domestics began having to compete more and more with imported competitors, the antes would have to be upped.

Keystone Light played off its traditionally subtle taste as a positive trait in relation to the new “extreme” beers coming from craft breweries and imported from other countries with their “bitter beer face” campaign. Thus, creating the bane of my existence: when people ask me “is this beer bitter?”

But for the most part, beer ads became funnier and bigger with the success of Budweiser’s frogs and “Wazzup?!” Guys.

Here are some super popular and super funny beer ads from the 2000’s. Notice how they don’t mention what the beer tastes like. Or, sometimes, even what it looks like. They do try to catch your attention with funny slogans, characters, and stories.

Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius campaign was successful because it employed the growing trend of metacommentary found in postmodern culture. By taking the subtle and benign events of everyday life and upholding it as something exciting and honorable, we find humor in the ironic and hyperbolic.

True fact: the original name of the campaign was “Real American Heroes” but in the light of 9/11 and actual American heroes, it was hard to call “Mr. Too Much Cologne Wearer” a “Real American Hero.”

And Miller Lite continued pushing the sexy beer ad so far that they made an ad so controversial it became banned and brought the beer more publicity than the ad could have ever done alone.

The ads in the 2000’s weren’t very profound. But they were funny and entertaining. And there were a lot of them. And they worked. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in America. And while other industries slumped during the decade, beer prospered. There are more breweries today than in 1999. And it does not seem to be going anywhere for a while. Anhueser-Busch and Coors have begun competing against craft brewers at their own games with Budweiser Ale and Blue Moon Belgian Wheat respectively. And, most importantly, we all had a good time. And isn’t that what beer should be all about?

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2 responses

19 01 2010
2OOBIE

Just found your site and bookmarked…Good job…Thx!

Working on a beer site myself.

19 01 2010
Lauren

I love to see Boston Beer Co on your site – founder/president/etc Jim Koch is my favorite (!!!) “celebrity” parent here at the fancy all girls school I work at. every time I talk to him/exchange emails/phone calls because his daughters are out sick or whatever else, I’m always pumped. It took three or four tours of the brewery to make the connection, but then I was delighted! happy to see him here!!
cheers! L.

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