Over my college career, I have grown fond of Budweiser. Its refreshments have treated me well at football games and other various events.
As the “King of Beers,” a motto that can be traced back to advertisements from 1964, Budweiser has made a point to separate its regular beer from the light version. The Budweiser ads clearly target a male audience, emphasizing the “king” part and often using provocative images of females to draw in consumers. No other catchy headline necessary.
Two invisible images could be perceived from this particular ad, the first of which being that girls like this will flock to you if you just sport the Bud. The second being that even average girls will start to look like models to you if you just pop open a can of Budweiser. And more so, they’ll look at you like you are a King. What male could resist such implications?
The Bud Light advertisements, on the other hand, target female consumers. In a series of ads that hold punch-out coasters (meant to used at the bars) that sport messages such as “Yes, I’m ignoring you,” this is the most bluntly female oriented. Long line for the women’s restroom? Just use this advertisement as a makeshift door sign and use the men’s. But even these advertisements directed at women find a way to stereotype them.
The ads directed at men marginalize women and the ads directed at women marginalize women. Budweiser assumes that females will automatically go for the lighter beer, so it does not bother to target a female audience at all with the regular “King of Beers.”
Is the separation between these two versions of essentially the same beer really necessary? Is there no gender neutral advertising than can replace the segregation?
Apparently not, because Budweiser’s emphasis on light beers being for women does not stop with their own products. In the feud versus Miller, Budweiser called the rival’s lite beer “The Queen of Carbs,” once again claiming itself as the “King.”
Though that feud was settled in court, Budweiser still uses masculine and feminine connotations in its ads today.
What kind of message does this separation of genders send to Bud’s consumers? Or do they even notice?