Monday, January 31, 2011

The Complexities of a Simple, Sexy Budweiser Advertisement

Advertisement is a multimillion dollar industry and its existence is critical to the success and survival of American capitalism. We are constantly surrounded by illustrations of advertisement: television commercials, magazine ads, billboards, and internet promotions. We are constituents of a society consumed by materialism, to a degree so prevalent that we typically proceed with our lives without acknowledgment of the deep, rooted influence imposed by advertisements. Advertisers utilize human emotion as a means to deliver their messages. It has helped manifest and solidify cultural myths, manipulating social identities. Social identities are defined by factors such as race, gender, social status, and sexual orientation. Advertisements take advantage of preexisting social identities, shifting and shaping them to invoke a desired atmosphere and attitude. These mental maneuvers are performed in an attempt to attract a specific targeted social group that is assumed to be more likely to be persuaded by the presented source of corporate propaganda.
Our minds are saturated by advertisements. Many rely on the complexities of comedy, while others draw upon more primitive, instinctual notions. Sexuality is a common, reoccurring theme in the advertisement world. It is used as a magnet, enticing an initially idol eye. Beer and other alcoholic beverages advertisements are notorious for harnessing the power of sexual attraction. But in order to harness that power, sexual attractiveness must be defined. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Although this philosophical statement has validity, beauty has been corporatized. General guidelines have largely been accepted, adopted, and adapted in America. These guidelines are relentlessly projected to us through the media, molding our own assessments of beauty. Beer advertisements regularly capitalize on this social phenomena, paradoxically progressing its evolution. The provided Budweiser advertisement exemplifies this routinely practiced tactic. The three women emoby the ideal representative of an attractive American female. Each strictly abide to the guidelines codified by American society, epitomizing the stereotypical image of femininity. All three women possess large breasts and thin waists; the African-American woman is able to parade her tight, round butt and long, sleek legs. They each convey a seductive facial expression, exploiting their voluptuous lips, penetrating eyes, and ivory smiles. As an American consumer and victim to everyday corporate mental manipulation, and as a heterosexual male, I contend that these women are highly physically attractive, without fear of popular disagreement. Budweiser certainly chose three women that would capture a wandering eye.
The advertisement does not only utilize the models general physical attraction as a technique to halt hurrying fingers. There is much more subtleness in its creation. The women are not simply seen as rays of sunshine, but as actual potential sexual partners; not literally the presented women, but women of hopefully comparative beauty. Bluntly, the underlying message to the advertisement is by drinking Budweiser one will find beauty and sex. Although rationally the concept is unrealistic, subliminally the message is delivered to the unconscious, where it awaits retrieval at opportunistic moments.This manifestation of subconscious hope and desire is key to the functionality of the advertisement. Sigmund Freud would argue that it is this buried, yet very real, infatuation that would impulsively force the given individual to purchase Budweiser beer. Despite numerous unsubtle justifications for buying Bedweiser, such as its refreshing taste and relatively inexpensive price, he would claim it is the unconscious, overwhelming desire for sensuality that represents the motivating factor of the advertisement and the individuals decision to buy Budweiser. Sexuality, although the chief component, is not the sole element of the advertisement. 
Other factors are clearly apparent. The discrepancies between hair color and the inclusion of a member of a minority group are efforts to address a wider range of prospective clientele. The classic Budweiser emblem and its choice of coloration is indistinguishably in resemblance to the American flag and other perceptions of patriotism. This is an attempt to invoke feelings of nationalism. These feelings, like sexuality, are rooted deep in one’s mind. We are continually brainwashed by corporations, and if not more so, by our own government. In disbelief? Take a glance in any elementary school classroom at the start of the day. The “Pledge of Allegiance” is concrete verification of their manipulative mindset. The advertisement, playing off these already well ingrained intentions, is declaring to its observers to be patriotic one must drink Budweiser. A final undermining message evident within the advertisement is Budweiser’s famous slogan and arrogant declaration: The King of Beers. In similarity to the conceptions of sexuality and patriotism, our compliance to authority is deeply entrenched by society. The key word is “king”, a word commonly learned early-on in one’s life. Although we are generally defiant to the idea of a monarchy, the word itself represents power, supremacy, and control, all of which are typically desirable attributes. The word “king” prays upon this cognitive association, soliciting an appealing and alluring response. The provided Budweiser blurb is an excellent example of advertisement. Its success is schemed through its exploitive use of cognitive processes influenced by society and corporate America.