Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thirty 4 Eleven

If you watch TV, and I know at least some of you do, if only sporadically while feverishly pressing F5 repeatedly waiting for our newest post; you may have seen the latest (first I've ever seen) Natural Light commercial. That's right: Natural Light television commercial.

But advertising is a big part of business these days. All the cool kids do it, so I'm not entirely shocked to see it. But what I was shocked by was... well, here. Lets see if you notice what I did:

Did your jaw hit the floor like mine? Yes? No? Not sure what the hell I'm talking about? Ok. They refer to it as "Natty". No big deal, I refer to it as Natty and I'm sure you do too. But stop and think about that for a second... they're essentially embracing an insult to their product. The nickname isn't just a shortening of the word "Natural", it's meant to imply that the liquid contained within the cans is fucking putrid. "Natty"; like how a little kid might mispronounce "nasty".

At first I thought some suited executive might have missed the joke and decreed that all advertising would now embrace their funky fresh nickname the underage drinkers- I mean... younger customers came up with, but then I realized the rest of the commercial seemed to acknowledge their beer's poor college student swill status.

The commercial shows a broke college dude who finally saved ten dollars and borrowed one more to pick up a 30-pack of Natty. He's shoving it roughly into his microfridge, which he most assuredly commandeered from some trash pile by the curb and toted home on the bus (note the bike in the background; his only wheels). His broke but hot college chick friend comes over with a $5 pizza to watch some possibly stolen cable programming on his large but 15 year old TV. The place is tidy, but still a fucking disgrace; and the furniture looks like it spent one too many days on the front porch. They crack open the first of 30 cans they'll drink that morning and settle in for the only golden rays of sunshine in their financially depressed and stress-filled lives: cardboard pizza, piss-warm beer (it's only been in the fridge for 30 seconds), and regrettable sex.

Let's check out another one:

Now we see a party on the back patio of a run-down college apartment. Fancy, huh? A patio for college kids? Well, slum lords like to pave over back yards because their college student tenants never mow the lawn. They have a $10 WalMart cooler, a shelf stereo hooked up to unmatched 35 year old speakers salvaged from someones trash, and a rusted out grill the last tenants left. As the commercial points out, they are lacking in horizontal surfaces to park your ass on, implication being they are all too broke to buy the plastic patio furniture that matches the cooler. Too bad they haven't seen the first commercial, they'd realize you can just bring your sofa outside and it'll dry out eventually. Still, not too bad for an afternoon. Except that after they bought enough store brand hot dogs to feed everyone, they're strapped for cash. So with their last $11 of quarters for the laundromat, they pick up a case of Natty. (They'll just have to turn their underwear inside-out for a few weeks.)

Anyway, there's nowhere to sit, so random college dude plops his butt down on the WalMart cooler. He then realizes he gets to meet all the girls at the party when they go to get another beer. In fact, if he positions himself correctly, he'll force them to reach between his legs to get a beer, mere inches away from his aching, disused member. (For those of you still in college, this type of behavior is frowned upon in post-college society.) Then another dude comes up to get a beer, and our cooler-sitter quickly stands up. Did he want the beer-seeker to touch his cock but feared rejection? Or does he just not roll that way? The makers of Natty aren't telling. However, the commercial doesn't show any more favorable results with his female party guests. Implication? Gifts of Natty won't get you pussy or cock. Truth in advertising.

So in both commercials, they completely recognize that Natural Light is beer consumed exclusively by college students who can't afford anything better. And if they recognize they know where the nickname comes from, they probably know why it nickname was chosen. And if they recognize all this in their commercials, they are essentially saying that they too agree their beer tastes like watered down cat piss. But they are pointing out that even watered down cat piss has its place in the beer market. Not everyone can afford $45 cases of Mad Elf for Christmas, not everyone can stock their party cooler with huge bottles of Arrogant Bastard. But that's ok! You can just buy Natty and you'll still get laid and eat pizza, unless you're a creeper sitting on the cooler in an attempt to get people to accidentally touch your penis. But honestly, what's wrong with patio parties and pizza sex? Nothing! That's what!

But that being said...

I know I frequently defend cheaper brands of beer and booze, but I'm not going to go that far this time. I'll defend Amber Bock and Pabst Blue Ribbon because they're honestly good beers, they just don't cost much. I'll defend Jim Beam and Captain Morgan because they're genuinely well made and tasty liquors, they just happen to be reasonably priced. I despise snobbery that puts down anything not expensive. Just because a particular brand of alcohol is cheap doesn't mean it isn't delicious and worth your time. Natural Light, however, isn't one of these. It's awful. There's worse, but not much. In fact, I'd argue that $11 for 30 cans might be a little over-priced.

But as I said, these situations still appeal to me. I like TV, parties, pizza, and sex. But I would not pair these activities with a case of Natty. So what beer would I choose for such everyday activities that don't necessarily call for an expensive beer? What would I buy?

1 comment:

  1. "Too bad they haven't seen the first commercial, they'd realize you can just bring your sofa outside and it'll dry out eventually."

    Well, not in Pittsburgh anymore. That's illegal. After all, Natty Light is the official beer sponsor of couch burners everywhere.