The second commercial that Craig analyzed was a Miller Beer commercial. The commercial begins with a couple sitting in a booth, holding hands, as a young, blond waitress walks across the room. It is at this point that a man dressed as a cowboy walks into the cafe. The rest of the commercial from what Craig describes, is that the two women in the cafe are awe-struck by the man, giving the inference they are attracted to him. Craig analyzes this commercial as one using men’s women, meaning that the advertisers use the male’s sexual fantasy that beautiful women will be attracted to them.
In commercials where women are used to target the male audience, the women tend to be objectified according to Craig, making it seem that the women are not actual people but rather just an elaborate fantasy. However, Craig stated “while avoiding portraying women as blatant sex objects is doubles good business… it would almost certainly inhibit male fantasies… ” In other words, advertisers toe the line of sexual objectification without crossing the line. During Super Bowl 50, Bud Light aired a similar commercial to the one Craig analyzed.
It began with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen walking up to a podium ready to deliver a presidential speech. As soon as Amy starts talking the scene cuts to a diverse crowd at a bar with a man requesting that everyone quiets down. Amy takes the assertive role in the speech, while Seth takes a more laid back approach. The commercial continues on with the basic plot that Seth and Amy are giving a speech promoting the responsible use of Bud Light. In the commercial, it gives the feeling that Bud Light is trying to reach to a large, more diverse target audience, but still primarily targeting men.
Throughout the course of the commercial, celebrity, Paul Rudd was featured at a basketball game. By using a celebrity, everyone is able to think back to a funny moment in a movie Paul was in and have a good laugh. In addition, since he was at a basketball game, it appeals to men’s men by associating the beer and Paul with sports. In addition to Paul Rudd being featured, there was a farmer on his ranch. By using a farmer, the commercial is able to relate to the hard working, ordinary American. By using these two actors, Bud Light was able to effectively target a wide variety of men from sports enthusiasts to hard working Americans.
Besides the people, the locations are another important aspect of the commercial. Craig does not touch on the importance of location in his essay, but one can make the argument that it is just as important as who is in the commercial. One of the locations that Seth and Amy give their speech is at a rodeo. Besides being at a sports event, the purpose of this location over another can be debated that it creates a sense of humor, but also relates to the southern and western culture in the United States creating a diverse audience. Another important scene for the commercial was at a construction site.
This scene is important because it targets the working class again, but specifically goes for people in cities since this is where much of the construction projects take place. The locations are important because it sets a tone for who would use these products. Craig argued that camaraderie and sports are important aspects that men want to see in a commercial. Bud Light was able to use these tactics by having sporting events as locations for the speech. Secondly, in all of the scenes, there is a gathering of people who appear to be friendly.
Although this sounds like it is what Craig argued, there are still major points that deviate from his arguments. One of the major points of discrepancy is the dynamic between Amy and Seth. From the beginning to the end of the commercial, Amy and Seth are constantly at each other’s side. According to Craig, “men’s men are frequently portrayed as men without women. ” In the context of the commercial, Seth would be viewed as a man’s man if he delivered the speech alone or with another man. However, since Seth is seen with Amy this takes away from his sense of being a man’s man and potentially as a woman’s woman.
This point also leads into the next discrepancy which is a man’s man should be free from attachment. According to Craig, a man’s man should be assertive and dominate. Throughout the speech, Amy takes on the assertive role while Seth Takes a more laid back approach. Amy is the one who begins the commercial and empowers the crowd. By creating a situation where a woman is more assertive also leads to the point that commercials are matching what is happening with society. There is a trend for equality for women and it appears that Bud Light was attempting to show their support for equality.
Compared to what Craig would most likely have said on this issue is that one would simply not see this in a commercial in 1990. This point further supports the argument that commercials are gradually evolving to become more relatable rather than idealistic. The last point that contradicts Craig’s arguments is Amy’s overall role in the commercial. Craig would claim that the woman in the commercial for men would be used to attract men, but it seems as if though that Amy is to be seen as one of the men, while at the same time empowering women. This was done by having Amy dress conservatively compared to revealing her more feminine features.
The benefit of doing this is to highlight the fact that she is a person too, and not just a person who should be fantasized over. In addition, given Amy’s social status in society, she is known for her comedic twist on everything and for empowering women to feel confident about themselves. Ultimately, by using Amy Schumer in the Bud Light commercial, a wider variety of viewers would be targeted and hopefully inclined to drink Bud Light. It is arguable that this commercial was meant to break new grounds for commercials by saying that women too can be consumers of beer and they too should be in the target demographic.
Although Craig was able to effectively defend his arguments in 1990, it appears that the underlying aspects of commercials have not changed, but commercials have become more realistic compared to an idealized fantasy. Instead of the typical stereotypes that men and women have of each other, a more diverse approach for targeting the audience may have becom more prevalent. In the case of Audi, the commercial still used aspects of adventure, camaraderie, and escapism in their commercial, it is clear that the commercial was used as a realistic approach to the family setting rather than an idealized family.
Likewise, in the Bud Light commercial even though it primarily targets men through sports, camaraderie, and beer, Bud Light created a diverse target demographic. They were able to accomplish this by the actors and locations used in the commercial. It would be interesting to do another research study on commercial and how they target specific audiences and then compare it to Craig’s essay Men’s Men and Women’s Women.