Bud Light Ads - Witty or Offensive?

Unless you live under a rock, you are well aware that Budweiser ads feature heavily in every Superbowl's coveted advertising spots. This year, we saw Bud Light in the asteroid observatory, a baby horse befriending a baby cow, and a house of Light. (Click on any scenario here to see the ad)

But the ad that seems to have the book world talking is this one, in which a baseball team crashes a ladies' book club:

You can see a general sampling of viewers' reactions by following the topic on Twitter.

Frankly, the ad mocks book clubs, male readers, female readers, beer drinkers... the whole gamut. I'm not one to get up in arms over advertising -- and if I were, we've all seen much worse than this -- but it isn't hard to see why this one irked so many people. Even Time hated the ad asking "Why would CBS turn down a Super Bowl ad from a gay-dating service, then run a bunch of ads with the message that men can't stand to be around women" They gave the ad a D.

Literary blogger Edward Champion summed it all up nicely in his post yesterday:
Here then is the ad’s anti-women and anti-reading worldview: Women, no matter what their goals, aspirations, or interests, have no other role in society other than getting f***ed by men. Let women have their “little” book clubs, which can be easily interrupted on a masculine whim and which women will never dare object to. They will set everything aside to give you head or to serve you beer.
And, by the way, if you’re a man, you don’t even need to read to get ahead in the world. (Indeed, one of the commercial’s curious philosophical positions is that one cannot both enjoy beer — at least the stuff better than the undrinkable swill that is being sold in this commercial — and books. Speaking as a man who enjoys beer, books, and football, and who finds intelligent women far sexier than empty-headed centerfolds, I happily refute these stereotypes through my very existence.)
Ok, that might be taking it a bit far, but then again, maybe not. The ad does seem to suggest that readers (women) are wimps, left talking about useless, lame and generally boring topics until the beer drinkers (men) storm in and bring new life to the otherwise dull gathering.

The saddest part to me is the implied notion that reading books is boring and drinking beer is fun, and that the two are mutually exclusive. Personally, I read and drink. I drink and read. I read and have fun, I have fun and I drink... you get the picture. So, let's step up, all you beer-drinking, football-loving, book-reading, fun-having fools. Let's show them that books - and the people who read them - really are a good time, after all.


  1. I just try to consider the source and not take too much offense at stuff like this. I'm not a beer drinker, but my husband is, and he would never consider drinking Bud Lite, so they probably don't care what we think anyway.

  2. It is clearly targeted to one particular part of the beer-drinking market, that's for sure!


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