Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The joy of venting, or why civilization is at a standstill.

Perhaps the classic Coors Light television ad of recent years depicts a mumbling husband transfixed by the shiny blue mountains on his revolutionary cold-activated bottle of beer. His wife tries in vain to share the results of her similarly color-coded pregnancy test, no doubt gleaning a fresh perspective on the veracity of her chosen sperm donor. We can only hope that she does the right thing before it’s too late.

In keeping with this winning theme, which epitomizes the strange and ultimately self-defeating megabrewing marketing strategy of making its target audience look as much like blithering idiots as possible (come to think of it, such honesty may actually be commendable given the excesses of advertising … and the reality of the audience) the Silver Bullet now boasts a new twist.

It’s venting.

This time, the attractive female with Bride magazine in hand looks on sympathetically as her personally selected Ken doll concocts a flimsy excuse about a close friend in need of “venting,” which she encourages in the assumption that men actually do share hankies and their innermost secrets. In fact, the “vent” in question actually is another revolutionary development, this one a newly configured can top that “lets air in” and permits the beer to be poured far more quickly while the men watch football.

Poured into what? Here’s where this exercise in forgettable marketing become interesting. The ad shows the beer cascading from the can into the air, presumably to make the point that the carbonated urine is falling into a glass, pitcher, bucket or leftover Rally’s sack. However, our closing glimpse of the "venting" party shows four men dumping the insipid liquid directly into their mouths, as is the custom in America, the land that manners forgot.

C’mon, why even pretend?

Coors suggests that you can drink its Rockies Perrier faster if you vent. As I’ve noted many times before, lowest common denominator advertising like this one is what makes like harder for all of us, because it amounts to an open invitation to prohibitionists and health fascists to attack swill purveyor and craft brewer alike.

Even as we cringe, a new generation of Coors Light ads is hitting the airwaves: Code Blue. As the mountains turn blue, men from all walks of life answer their cell phones, drop what they’re doing, and race to become mass-market beer lemmings.

That’s just embarrassing. Is this why the world is racing ahead of us?

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