Commercial Analysis

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Fiesta. Not Forever.

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“Fiesta” is simply the Spanish word for festival or party. There is nothing inherently more fun about a “fiesta” (ie: a party taking place within a Spanish-speaking culture) than a “party” (ie: one taking place in a culture that predominantly speaks English). Why, then, would this commercial have a Caucasian man with an American accent – obviously someone who’s primary culture is English-speaking – refer to parties as “fiestas”? The answer – and indeed the first part of the commercial’s subliminal message – is that he couldn’t help it. That the “tropical” tastes of the Lime-a-Rita line of Bud Light made his party a fiesta.

Rational people do not consciously thinks that a fiesta is more fun than a party. When such people, if they’re of a predominantly English-speaking culture, call a party a fiesta, they do so simply to perpetuate (or at least introduce) levity and amusement into a social situation. The desire to do such a thing indicates that a good time is being had (or at least will be had – if, for example, they are inviting someone to the gathering when they call it a fiesta). There is nothing wrong with being in that mood, of course, but only provided that it’s sincere.

Does the fact that a beer has an exotic flavor automatically make consuming it a (psychologically) healthy decision? Is it automatically just about sampling the flavors, and not simply drinking beer for the same reason many people do (ie: to escape from reality – to evade problems and failures – rather than to embrace it and to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments)? Of course not, so why is the claim that a given beer will produce a “fiesta” any more honest than the claim that it will produce a party (a claim that is widely – and correctly – understood to be merely a rationalization for overindulging in alcohol)?

The reason why this commercial has to appear to be tongue in cheek is because if it openly claimed that drinking is okay (ie: indicative of a positive mindset) simply because the beer has exotic flavorings, it would be obvious that Bud Light was trying to exploit something negative within people, and anyone with even a sliver of self-respect would be insulted. The commercial must appear to be simply joking about putting forth that message, precisely to be able to do so.

The fact of the matter is that people who habitually abuse alcohol do rationalize it through dubious excuses such as that they’re just trying out new flavors. Such people do go through the motions of being in a light-hearted mood (eg: calling a party a “fiesta”), in order to give themselves permission to overindulge. Simply because they don’t do it in such an explicit, over-the-top sort of way – where it is explicitly, albeit humorously demonstrated that the mere presence of alcohol will create a good time – doesn’t mean that that’s not in effect what often happens.

The first part of this commercial’s subliminal message is that it’s obvious message couldn’t be serious – and then once that’s established, the second part is that it’s okay to do what the obvious message advises; precisely because one doesn’t explicitly believe what the people in the commercial are shown to believe.

Why does a company as large and as highly-leveraged as Anheuser-Busch is resort to such devious psychological manipulation in order to sell it’s products? It’s products have objective merit – it is appropriate to consume them under certain circumstances and to a certain degree – so why not create commercials which simply announce the existence of a product and/or promote it’s merits? The answer is that in today’s highly-regulated, over-taxed business environment, doing what is objectively best for the consumer is not an option. Often such a tactic means foregoing short-term benefits for the sake of long-term ones. America’s mixed economy doesn’t allow for such strategies. Companies’ profits – and often their very existences – are at the mercy of politics much more than they were the immutable laws of economics, so they are going to do whatever is necessary to make as much as they can as quick as they can. Most would say that manipulative, dishonorable commercials such as this one are the result of too much capitalism. The truth is that they are the result of not enough of it.


Written by commercialanalysis

July 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

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