Take a look at Heineken's latest worldwide ad...
We've rarely seen an ad so flagrantly violate the first of our Seven Deadly Sins of Beer Advertising. In the top spot on that list is "portraying the brand's drinkers in an unflattering way." It seems obvious enough: Don't insult your best prospects.
Adding injury to insult
But if the portrayal of Heineken's primary target as a bunch of short-hitting loser-dudes isn't enough, why not drive home their deeper, more consequential failure as men?
Most young-adult guys harbor some level of insecurity about how to succeed with women. (Take our word for it. Or search the internet and you'll find plenty of material.) Parading one attractive woman after another, all lamenting the absence of a "hero" to deliver their desired romantic end to the evening, ought to push a guy's sexual pucker-factor to "11."
So the girls all sing...
In a night of tossing and turning, I dream of what I need
I'm holding on for a hero to the end of the night
I need a hero (Over video of phallic subway train at speed)
I'm holding on for a hero to the morning light.
How about a side-order of performance anxiety with your beer, sir?
We get that this is meant to be a "responsible consumption" ad. But if the route to responsible drinking is male-bashing and anxiety-inducing drama, consumption could go very soft indeed. The one guy at the end of the ad who refuses an offered Heineken may be joined by hordes of others.
In its press release, Heineken said they thought this ad would "empower (women) to encourage men to moderate their drinking." Just what every guy wants to hear, right?
And people wonder why so much beer advertising celebrates male-bonding.