Boobs, Beer, and Beaches




Figure 1. Budweiser advertisement from a 2007 Sports Illustrated Magazine

Beer advertising is a high volume market. According to a study conducted by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the brewing industry spends roughly $2 billion dollars a year on advertisements. Beer advertisements are broadcast through television, printed in magazines and on billboards, and even radio. Despite the range of media, all the advertisements share a few things. For instance, advertisements commonly show a group of young people socially drinking and having fun. Another theme is one of history. The advertisements express the beers’ heritage and try to make it seem like a time tested recipe which has been enjoyed by people for years. It’s playing to the same wisdom of the old adage “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Finally, beer advertisers use sex to sell their beer. Typically it’s an attractive woman who isn’t drinking beer at all, instead just posing like a model. The advertisements are implying that if that particular brand of beer is consumed, the consumer will be more masculine and be able to win over the girl.

Beer advertisements market to a variety of ages past the drinking age. The overtly sexual advertisements are marketed towards drinking age males, whereas the historical and


Figure 2. Shiner Bock advertisement about Shiner’s historical significance in Texas.

party advertisements are more asexual. Age wise the party-style advertisements are marketed towards younger drinking age adults, whereas the historical and sexual ones are more age neutral. If the brewery was a regional brewer, their advertisements targeted residents of that geographic location. Smaller microbrew advertisements incorporate references or themes that are culturally constrained to that area. For example, Shiner Brewery ran an advertisement claiming it was the best beer to have while eating Tex-Mex. That advertisement would not be relevant to someone living outside of Texas.


Beer advertisements can be largely divided into two categories based on popular drinking locales. The outside category typically has the beer sweating out on a beach, lake, or other body of water. The other category takes place inside either a club or house and has much darker colors. Advertisers use familiar drinking locations to try to get the viewer to place himself in the advertisement. If the advertisement doesn’t use scenery as a background it’ll typically use a color that matches the beer container. The typefaces of advertisements vary and do use both serif and non-serif fonts. The serif fonts read a little softer and thus are used mostly as a transitional type. The main points of the advertisements are in a non-serif font to draw the reader’s attention and apply emphasis.


Figure 3. Primus “Buddies” advertisement campaign circa 2008

White space in beer advertisements is used to frame and focus the reader on the beer being sold. For example, Figure 1 has a large swath of white space to the right of a blonde woman reclining over a beer can. The white space pushes the reader’s gaze to the woman and the Budweiser can. By no mistake, the Budweiser logo is situated underneath the woman’s bust to be the next thing looked at after her chest. Figure 2 has white space outlining the can which helps guide the reader down the text while also emphasizing the beer itself. Figure 3 has too little white space. The waves, flotsam, and party-goers is distracting and takes away from the beer. Overall it is too noisy.

Beer advertisements try to invoke a feeling of confidence and excitement in the reader. They depict groups of people having fun and feelings of refreshment. They communicate this idea that buying their particular brand of beer will give them what is depicted in the advertisement whether it be the blonde or the friends. In short, beer advertisements try to convince the reader that a certain brand of beer is their ticket to a good time.

This entry was posted in Blog #2. Researching Print Advertisements. Bookmark the permalink.

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