-George Herbert Walker Bush, 1988
"In the future, women [in Budweiser advertising] will have equal roles and be treated in an equal manner."
-August Busch IV, 1991
Yeah, well, things change. Sometimes you have to make a solemn pledge rooted in the bedrock of your principles, and sometimes you have to re-evaluate.
It's not as though Mr. Bush was being opportunistic or disingenuous when he campaigned on a no-tax-hike promise; no doubt the darned deficit took him completely by surprise. And we're equally sure Mr. Busch was genuinely determined to stamp out shameless female objectification in beer advertising.
But here again, that was before he realized D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, was incapable of making a decent beer commercial without at least a few leggy babes in skimpy outfits. If Mr. Busch realized, when he vowed not "to get into the body parts," that he would be left with insufferable Generation Xers in baggy shorts playing TV trivia on the golf course, he would have probably stuck with All Bimbos All the Time.
Which is pretty close to where he's at now. Three new Bud spots feature impossibly beautiful people of every single gender, but 100% of the camera lingering is reserved for the major babe action, such as the lady in the tight, sheer top who saunters into the barroom turning heads in slow motion.
And it's a shame, too, because otherwise this is Bud's first likable advertising in quite some time.
It is also quintessential beer advertising: lots of attractive, blue-collar guys having wayyyyy too much fun doing mundane blue-collar things in a montage cut to one of the great beer jingles ever.
Familiar as blue jeans,/Hollywood chase scenes./As timeless as pop flies/and you-know-who's blue eyes./It's always been true./This Bud's for you.
The lyrics focus on a bunch of unremarkable but nonetheless revered guy things. But what makes the music so fetching is the irresistible melody from Klaff Weinstein, Chicago. It's just plain catchy, is what it is, and the perfect locomotive for the boxcar train of images in the montage. The consequence is the best-crafted campaign of its kind since "Burger King Town" in 1986.
And they are exactly of a kind, in that both are handsome, buoyant, textured montages utterly generic to the category, making no unique statement about the brand. Does it bear noting that "Burger King Town" was J. Walter Thompson USA's swan song on that account?
As for D'Arcy's latest effort, now that Busch's no-bimbo pledge has been sacrificed, the only thing that even distinguishes this as Bud advertising is the welcome resurrection of "This Bud's for you."
The slogan is actually better now that, in addition to saluting the working man, it has nostalgic resonance-exactly what Bud tried so annoyingly, and unsuccessfully, to evoke with the grungy golfers.
Who knows, maybe that's why the girlie shots are back, to make us fondly associate Budweiser with the "good old days" when a doll in a tight red dress and spike heels could be flailing at pitches in the batting cage, her cleavage bouncing, and nobody would even flinch.
Except this is 1994 and we're definitely flinching.
Yeah, well, things change.
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