Archive | November, 2011

Informational Images

30 Nov

It is hard to say whether Pinnacle Vodka’s campaigns are focused on portraying sex through alcohol, demean women through alcohol, or create socially acceptable behaviors through alcohol.  Whether any of these are true, the influence that Pinnacle Vodka’s advertisements have on the women who view them or consume the products is much different than the influence that the advertisements have on men.

In one of my recent blog posts I mentioned the over sexualized manner in which women are shown throughout Pinnacle’s campaigns; I discussed the fact that many of the advertisements are allowing women to judge what is normal based on the campaigns.  As I investigated more into how women view these advertisements I stumbled across a journal comparing how men and women interpret different types of advertisements.

The journal stated that, “Girls liked image-oriented advertisements more and perceived them to be more persuasive than quality oriented advertising.”  Lucky for Pinnacle Vodka, their advertisements fit perfectly into the image-oriented category.  Although this is lucky for Pinnacle Vodka, for all the women viewing these advertisements, especially adolescents, they become extremely influenced.

The image-oriented advertisements are not only persuading women to purchase the product, but they are creating an “attractive” image for women to strive for.  The sex appeal that is seen through the advertisements is what women think they need to achieve and they begin to feel drinking Pinnacle Vodka is a strong step towards accomplishing it.

The campaigns are designed to pull women in and create a false scenario they can rely on to be “cool” and “sexy.”  When men view the Pinnacle Vodka campaigns they are attracted to the pictures, and then the content.  Men want to know what they are being sold and why they would want it.

The different between men and women in terms of such campaigns is that women are relation based while men are information based.  Women want to create a product connection, while men want the information; what is it, does it taste good or bad and where can I get it.

Women view these advertisements and connect to the sex appeal and idea of being “whipped” rather than a socially empowering message.  Men view these advertisements as information.  The distinct difference between how men and women view the advertisements creates the idea that I am still struggling with today.

If men don’t care about the sex appeal in advertisements then they’re not as concerned with it in daily life as women believe. So women should not focus on accomplishing the “look” of the advertised sex appeal, but more on their individual self and quality of person that they are.  The more women focus on sex appeal because of mass media, the more men feel that is what they are supposed to rely on when meeting someone.  Mass media is responsible for the dynamic of sex appeal.

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cbs/26/3/404/

Man Up

30 Nov

The Man Up Campaign has received a lot of feedback on YouTube. All of the Man Up videos are uploaded by fans, none of them are uploaded from the official Miller Lite page. The most views any of the commercials has gotten is 400,000 views.  The Man Up campaign has the same theme in every commercial: a male asks a female bartender for a light beer, she asks if he cares how it tastes, he says he doesn’t care, and she tells him when he starts caring to start acting more manly then he can come back to get a Miller Lite instead of a regular light beer.  All of the bartenders in these commercials show way too much attitude toward their male customers. The bartender is very rude and nosy by chastising the males for wearing feminine clothing or having feminine accessories. Their rude comments on the male’s appearance are completely unprovoked because the male customers are usually nice in the commercial until he is made fun of by the bartender.  And even then, he doesn’t yell back or lose his temper.  After getting made fun of, he walks away while looking embarrassed and not sure of how to come up with a good come-back. At the end of the ad, the male returns to his group of buddies and gets made fun of by his guy friends as well. This creates a lot of insecurities for the male because he isn’t accepted by being himself in front of his friends or strangers.

I looked at a few hundred comments on different Man Up commercials.  There were a lot of comments made by males saying how they would never tolerate any female bartender chastising them the way the bartender does in the commercial.  Many of the comments suggest that drinking Miller Lite isn’t manly at all, and if they wanted to be manly they would drink a “real beer”.  There are also comments telling the people complaining that they should “lighten up” and just realize it’s a joke.  These comments say that people should just appreciate the commercial and stop taking it so seriously.  A lot of the viewers who comment actually get into fights about whether the Man Up commercials are truly offensive or not.  Some people call others “gay” for bashing the construction of masculinity and femininity in the ads.  Other people think these ads are a real problem and the people who came up with the campaign should be fired.  There were some males that ignored the whole message of the commercial and just commented on how attractive the bartender was or even asked what the actress’s name was. Since every one of these ads stars a very attractive female bartender, it’s no surprise that some male viewers didn’t focus too much on the content of the actual ad and just focused on the female actress.

A lot of males were offended by these ads because they’re sexist and play on men’s insecurities.  These ads insinuate that in order to be manly you need to drink a Miller Lite.  These ads are very direct with their gender stereotyping which is why they are getting such harsh feedback. There is no subtlety in the message Miller Lite is trying to get across. Basically, Miller Lite is saying ‘drink our beer or you’ll be less masculine and get made fun of for it’.

Fan Activity

16 Nov

Isn’t it amazing how quickly things spread over the Internet?  Websites like Facebook and YouTube have made information travel within seconds.  News Feeds and Tweets allow for everyone to view new posts, pictures or videos without even digging deep into the sites.  Just look at Facebook for example; everything is posted right within the News Feed as you log onto the main page.  Users now go as far as to post links from one social media site on other social media sites.  The connections are endless.

Through my research on Pinnacle Vodka I have found they have a strong social networking presence on many popular sites including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.  Their strongest presence is on Facebook with over 183,418 “likes” as well as 13,860 different users posting on the Pinnacle Vodka wall.

Pinnacle Vodka has daily posts about what their group’s members will be drinking each evening.  Not only are they advertising for their product, but they are providing users a reason to comment as well.  Recent posts include: “Who’s in for Sunday Funday,” “What are you drinking tonight?” and “Just go talk to her, but make sure you bring her a Pinnacle cocktail J.”  These comments are all updated onto the Pinnacle Vodka wall; the comments are used to provoke two-way communication between the product and its consumers.

The connection to fans that Pinnacle Vodka has made through Facebook is exactly what White Rock Chief Executive Officer, Paul Coulombe, attributes all of the hype surrounding this vodka too.  “Everybody was talking about it.  Everyone who tasted it would tell 100 of their (Facebook) friends,” stated Coulombe. It became a fan-based culture of advertising.  The consumers created a connection to Pinnacle Vodka and wanted to share their experiences with others who felt the same.  In turn the discussions on the Facebook Wall became positive advertisements for Pinnacle Vodka.  Sales continued to increase as more “likes” appeared through Facebook.

Consumers have produced YouTube videos detailing their use of Pinnacle Vodka.  “White Rock’s Chief Financial Officer, John Suczynski stated that homemade YouTube videos also spread the word.”  “There are people doing commercials for us.”  Even though Pinnacle Vodka does have their own YouTube Channel, well-known YouTube stars such as OneQuirkyGirl have uploaded videos promoting Pinnacle Whipped.  These YouTube stars already have established followers and in turn are becoming free advertisements for Pinnacle Vodka.

The use of all these different social media pathways for Pinnacle Vodka has created an active consumer rather than a passive one.  Consumers of Pinnacle Vodka created a community around the product.  They check in on the Facebook wall for updates and actively participate in the different discussions.  The consumers have developed “talk” about the product through an online community.

As more and more people try Pinnacle, their fan-based community continues to build. Pinnacle Vodka has created a self-sustaining advertisement campaign through social media.  The campaign for this product is booming and the chief executives of White Rock are more than pleased with all the free advertisement they are receiving through their active consumers.

Research from: http://www.pressherald.com/business/white-rock-reaches-a_2011-03-06.html?pageType=mobile&id=3

Band of Buds: An Arena for Masculinity

16 Nov

As I have been exploring the Band of Buds website, I realized that the majority of posts were by men. In order to understand the gendered dynamics of Budweiser’s Band of Buds contest, I thought it would be useful to thoroughly look at the content of the discussion boards on the website. So for the past week, I have been creating a spreadsheet that records the team name, individual name, ranking in the contest, gender, and themes of the one hundred most recent comments on Budweiser’s Band of Buds Philadelphia discussion board. I chose Philadelphia because it is the closest city to Delaware that the contest held a casting call party in, and because Philadelphia’s casting call party happened very recently.

Perhaps the most striking, and yet most predictable, trend that I noticed was that out of one hundred posts only four were by female contest participants. Ninety-six posts were by men. I haven’t collected data for the entire duration of this contest, but I have looked at the posts as far back as September and I can tell you that this pattern hold true throughout. This is a men’s forum. No one explicitly stated that this contest is only for men—there are actually many women’s teams enrolled—but the women are not visible on the discussion board.

To further show how overwhelming masculinity is on the Band of Buds discussion boards, I looked at the content of the posts. The major themes that came up include humor, drinking beer (specifically Budweiser), sports, working out, television, popular music (all male artists), competition in the contest, partying, video games, hangovers, food, teamwork, and girlfriends/wives. I know that women drink beer, go to parties and bars, follow sports, watch television and play video games. Despite what women are actually doing, these are activities are traditionally within the realm of masculinity and are still considered to be masculine. And although women participated in this contest, they hardly had anything to say on these topics in the discussion board. The four female comments that I saw were either images of women and their friends drinking, statements wishing other teams good luck at the casting call party or congratulating the winners of the contest.

Although the contest is open to people of all genders and backgrounds, I find it interesting that it became a male-dominated arena by the actions of the participants. More about why I think this is happening in the next post.

Here is the link to the Band of Buds website. Check it out: http://www.bandofbuds.com/

Responses to ML Commercials

4 Nov

This week I focused my research on peoples’ responses to the Miller Lite commercials that are on YouTube. Because these commercials are targeted for men, more men watched and commented on these videos than women did. The commercial that got the most positive feedback was the commercial with the two women arguing whether Miller Lite was the best because of its ‘great taste’ or because it is ‘less filling’ which ended with the girls having a catfight and ripping each others’ clothes off.  While I found this advertisement to be particularly offensive to women, the males viewing this video obviously had little-to-no issues with it. The marketers for Miller Lite are using women as sexual objects to appeal to the male population and to sexualize the Miller Lite brand. This commercial had the most views (a little over 1 million) than any other Miller Lite commercial on YouTube. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyRvpR4XhK4&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fresults%3Fsearch_query%3Dmiller%2Blite%26aq%3Df

Miller Lite also uses women as sexual marketing strategies with the ‘Miller Lite Girls’. Although the Miller Lite Girls have nothing to do with the YouTube commercials, they still are successful for increasing sales for the Miller Lite brand. Mostly, these girls to go bars in their Miller Lite outfits, but at some events the girls are actually topless with just body paint covering their breasts.  At these events, the girls had on body paint that looked like condensation on a beer bottle.  Basically this symbolizes that these women’s bodies are just objects, just like a beer bottle is.  I find this to be very offensive to women.

The wave of commercials that received the most negative feedback was the ‘Man Up’ advertisements.  These commercials featured a man in a bar with some feminine accessory who was told to “man up” from the attractive female bartender. A lot of male and female viewers expressed outrage toward these commercials. They said that these ads were demeaning and insulting for insinuating that any man wearing skinny jeans, wearing a scarf, having a carry-all etc. should stop being so feminine. The ads imply that a male is less of a man for acting or dressing like a woman in any way. This is very offensive for men in general, especially homosexual men who may dress more feminine.  These ads are destructive for men because they confirm oppressive gender norms. I am interested to hear what the markers for Miller Lite have to say about all the negative comments on these commercials.