Sell This Character to Budweiser
Mass-produced Mexican beers have a taste that is distinctive from mass-produced American beers, and from all other mass-produce beers for that matter. As do mass-produced German beers, and mass-produced British beers, and mass-produced Chinese beers. None of these are particularly better in terms of quality and craftsmanship. They stand apart from one another simply because they incorporate unique – but for their cultures, commmonplace – ingredients and techniques. Why, then, are American consumers being asked to consume a mass-produced Mexican beer? Why not simply consume it’s American equivalent?
The answer is that the value a foreign beer can provide that a domestic beer cannot is what consuming it says, to himself and to others, about the consumer. The mere act of “preferring” a foreign beer suggests, to the uncritical, that he is wise, experienced, and refined. In other words: he is exploiting the mystique that a foreign object necessarily comes with in leiu of developing substance that would actually give him those qualities. He is counting upon ignorance of the actual, unrefined nature of the foreign beer in order to give the appearance of being high-brow and discriminating when he really isn’t.
These commercials mock exactly this type of person. The type of man who is not actually virtuous, but because he is preoccupied with appearing virtuous, actually exposes his lack of it by taking it too far and appearing ridiculous. It’s a worthwhile thing to do (to mock such people), and the way these commercials do it is actually quite entertaining, but how is “the most interesting man in the world” any different in principle than the type of man who thinks that choosing a mass-produced foreign beer means he is sophisticated? It is ironic that Dos Equis is lampooning exactly the sentiment that it’s US sales rely upon. They’re doing so because they’re desperate. People have finally seen through the charade that because it’s foreign, it’s necessarily better, and so the only way they can keep people interested in their product is by making them believe that if they really were trying to make others believe there was more to them than there is, these are the types of claims they’d be making; and since they’re not that ridiculously pretentious, they’re somehow not pretentious at all.
These commercials are clever, creative, and entertaining, but they would be better suited to sell Budweiser.