Archive | October, 2011

The Evolution of Miller Lite Ads

31 Oct

Hey! My name is Paulina and I going to be focusing on Miller Lite’s role in media culture for this project.  I am currently centering my research on the types of advertisements Miller Lite has been putting out the past few years. The majority of Miller Lite’s advertisements is on YouTube or their website (millerlite.com) and is targeted for men ages 21-34.  I thought the Miller Lite advertisements would be a good launching point for my research because there are so many people on YouTube that have viewed these ads and have also gave their personal opinions on the ads with comments. Miller Lite has its own YouTube channel, so I decided to subscribe to it. Unfortunately, there are a very limited number of advertisements uploaded from the Miller Lite YouTube channel, so most of the advertisements I found were uploaded by fans.

I found it very interesting how the types of ads have changed over the past half-decade. What really caught my attention was how women were portrayed in the commercials and whether they were in the ads or not.  I noticed that in the advertisements from over 4 years ago, there were rarely any women shown. The Miller Lite ads during 2006 were called “Men of the Square Table” which showed about 10 men discussing which rules should be considered ‘Man Laws’.  The Man Laws were supposed to show men how to be more masculine.  The “Men of the Square Table” advertisements were gotten rid of because of a decrease in sales.  I think that’s a shame because I did not find the Man Laws to be degrading or offensive to women in comparison to the next few waves of commercials.

A few years ago a couple more commercials came out; this time the commercials displayed a man and a woman.  In one of these commercials, the girlfriend asked her boyfriend this question: If he could save her or a Miller Lite, which one would he choose?  Of course the man chose the Miller Lite and the girlfriend left him. Another one of these ads showed a man with his girlfriend saying how he finally “found the one” and how he never really thought he would “find one he really loved”. The girlfriend obviously figured the man was talking about her, until he held up a Miller Lite, completely ignoring the angry girlfriend next to him.

The Miller Lite advertisements from this year were a lot worse than the ads in the past. These commercials had the tag line “Man Up”.  In each of these ads, a man would be in a bar and go up to an attractive female bartender saying that he had no preference for the taste in his light beer. The female bartender gives him a bland light beer and tells him to come back to get a Miller Lite after he’s gotten rid of whatever girly accessory he had. A few examples of these feminine accessories which the men had were a skirt, scarf, carry-all (the bartender called it a purse), lower back tattoo, skinny jeans, and other womanly things. These ads urged men to “Man Up” and to stop emasculating themselves by going out in public with accessories that our society view as strictly feminine.

The most degrading Miller Lite ads showed two women who got in a cat fight over whether Miller Lite is the best because of its ‘great taste’, or because it’s ‘less filling.’ These women end up tearing each others’ clothes off and falling into a fountain…need I explain more. Another one of these ads featured none other than Pamela Anderson, who also got involved in a shirtless fight with the other girls.

I noticed that generally over the years, the Miller Lite advertisements got progressively more sexist with regards to how women were represented in the commercials and how men were constantly punished for appearing feminine in any way. For my future research I want to examine the viewers’ responses to these ads to see whether they perceive these commercials to be as inappropriate I find them to be.

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Whipped or Wowed

21 Oct

Hey there! My name is Paige and I have taken on the study of Pinnacle Vodka for this particular project.  From speaking with a handful of college students, ages 18-21, I have learned that the majority of college students view Pinnacle Vodka as a female drink.  Although many males admit to enjoying the taste of this “candy-coated” vodka, ultimately they will still proclaim that it’s a “girly drink.”

As my research began on Pinnacle Vodka I had this mindset that I would find a lot of advertisements geared towards women.  Not really knowing where to start I chose Pinnacle Vodka’s homepage.  It led me straight to an area labeled “advertising.”  “Perfect,” I thought.

The first few advertisement samples were spot on.  They were advertisements featuring typical feminine household chores such as laundry, cooking and cleaning.  In each advertisement a male model would be struggling to accomplish these everyday “feminine” tasks. The caption that succeeded the pictures read, “Whipped So Good;” a play on the way a man can be controlled by a woman.

To me these advertisements were gendered toward women, I felt empowered.  Pinnacle Vodka wanted woman to see these advertisements and think, “If I drink Pinnacle Vodka, I can get my guy to do anything.”  What woman wouldn’t want that?  So with these gendered advertisements I gave credit to Pinnacle Vodka for providing empowerment to woman.

With a positive experience coming from Pinnacle Vodka’s advertisements I continued to click away, I wanted to see more!  This time the advertisements that appeared were not what I expected.  They used woman’s body parts, specifically their bare bottoms, to entice men into drinking their vodka.  The advertisements featured actual Playboy models posing with their, “Bottoms Up.”  How could this be?  A simple advertisement had just changed my mind about their product.  I went from feeling empowered to feeling degraded.

Pinnacle Vodka had mastered their advertisements so well that they could market their product to any gender using different slogans.  If they advertised in a generally female audience magazine, they had a one slogan.  If they advertised in a generally male audience magazine, they had another.  I became interested to see how they could incorporate the two gender sides into each media they use.

As I continue my research on Pinnacle Vodka I hope to answer some of the following questions.   Is Pinnacle Vodka in partnership with Playboy? If so, how does their partnership affect sales?  What other technology strategies is Pinnacle Vodka using to target audiences?  Is the main consumer of Pinnacle Vodka male or female?

More to come later but till then, check out this link:   http://www.pinnaclevodka.com/advertising

Are you Whipped or Wowed  by their advertisements?

-P

Band of Buds

19 Oct

Hey! I’m Jen, and my portion of the project focuses on Budweiser and Bud Light products and marketing. Budweiser and Bud Light are interesting products to study in the context of gender and digital culture because, while they are a company that traditionally markets toward men between the ages of 21 and 35, they do not use the same kind of marketing strategies that other beer companies use, which often follow the mantra “sex sells.” Budweiser and Bud Light are typically known for relying on humor and sports in order to appeal to this specific demographic, and rarely use images that objectify or degrade women. However, they are certainly excluding women from the discourse.

When I began this research, I came across the Budweiser “Band of Buds” Contest. This is a web-based contest in which people form “crews” with their friends, who will then go out into the offline world to complete “challenges.” Photo evidence of these challenges—which involve partaking in strange activities while drinking Budweiser—are then posted to the website, and crews gain points for their creative photos. The crews with the most points at the end of the online portion of the contest get a chance to attend casting call parties, and the winning crew is eventually announced at the final party in Las Vegas.

This contest is relevant to this course because it effectively uses online and offline marketing strategies to not only hook “fans” of the product, but to get these fans to continue to market the product themselves as they represent Budweiser wherever they complete a challenge. Of course the “Band of Buds” contest has an iPhone application, allowing the crews and other fans to post text and photo messages immediately from parties or other places where Budweiser is present.

In my research, I became a member of the site, downloaded the app, and began studying the behaviors of participants in order to find some gender dynamics. It was at this point that I began to see that there is a distinct sense of community among the participants of this contest. Just as Budweiser and Bud Light marketing centers around humor and sports, so does the discussion board on the “Band of Buds” site. Most participants seem to be men, however, even the women who are participating seem to follow the same masculine norms as the men do. The questions that I am considering for the next blog post are: how do these norms develop in an online community, and what does this site being a masculine space mean for the women who are active participants in the contest?

Welcome to our research blog!

1 Oct

We are a group of undergraduate students (and a professor) at the University of Delaware who are conducting research on  gender, alcohol marketing and digital technology  as part of our Gender and Digital Culture class (Women Studies 267/Communication 267). We will discuss our findings on this blog.