Beer Commercials Aren't What They Used To Be

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Robert De Niro Stunned To Learn Of Man Who Can Quote ‘Goodfellas’

‘Bring Him To Me,’ Actor Demands

NEW YORK—Immediately halting production on his latest project after hearing of the incredible talent, legendary actor Robert De Niro was reportedly stunned to learn Wednesday that Bayonne, NJ resident Eric Sullivan, 33, can quote the critically acclaimed 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas at length.

Timeline Of The James Bond Series

This week marks the release of the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, Spectre, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth appearance as the British secret agent. Here are some notable moments from the film series’s 53-year history

Netflix To Temporarily Remove Every Movie Except ‘Hard Eight’

‘Everyone Should See It At Least Once,’ Company Says

LOS GATOS, CA—Saying that everyone, including all 65 million of its subscribers, really ought to see the film at least once, Netflix announced Tuesday that it will suspend all streaming content except Hard Eight for a full month.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of September 15, 2015

ARIES: Some things only become funny when you look back on them years later. Conversely, the events of next week will seem funny at the time, but as the years go by, society will gain sensitivity and learn to outgrow that sort of thing.

Your Horoscopes – Week of May 1, 2012

ARIES: You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 18, 2015

ARIES: Your feeling of impending doom shall come to nothing again this week as the world continues to turn and your life goes on as normal. Perhaps you should consider feeling useless and stupid instead.

Highlights From ‘Go Set A Watchman’

Harper Lee’s buzzed-about new release, Go Set A Watchman, went on sale last week, taking the world by storm with its new investigations of Scout Finch as a grown woman and its divisive portrayal of her father, Atticus Finch, as a racist figure. Here are some highlights from the new book:

Leonardo DiCaprio Agrees To Donate It-Factor To Science

LOS ANGELES—Saying the gift would immeasurably improve their understanding of the ineffable quality that makes certain big-screen stars positively radiate, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles announced Tuesday that A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to donate his it-factor to science.

How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Comic-Con Survival Guide

San Diego Comic-Con is expected to draw more than 130,000 fans to Southern California this year to participate in cosplaying, attend panels, go to film screenings, and learn more about their favorite series. Here are some tips for surviving the four-day conference

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...
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Beer Commercials Aren't What They Used To Be

In these modern times, the concept of workmanship, of taking pride in one's craft, has gone the way of Nagel paintings, the Thompson Twins, and Vision Street Wear. And nowhere is this more evident than in the sorry state of our beer commercials.

What? You say the beer commercials of today are just as good as those of the past? Nonsense! Peel back the scales from your eyes and gaze unblinking into the gaping maw of inarguable truth.

Let us go back to the 1980s, the Golden Age of beer advertising, to see how far we have fallen.

Take the gloriously whimsical Miller Lite campaigns. In one classic spot, comedian Rodney Dangerfield is called upon to win a celebrity bowling tournament. His team implores him, "We only need one pin, Rodney!" thereby setting up a moment of high drama. Can lovable loser Dangerfield pull off the seemingly simple task under intense pressure from his middle-aged cronies? Our hero proceeds to roll the ball dead-center down the middle of the lane and, though it appears he is headed for a triumphant strike, in a surprising turn of events, the ball bounces harmlessly off the head pin, toppling not a one and losing the game. This defies our expectations, for we know that a bowling ball is a good deal heavier than a bowling pin. The resultant response of the viewer is one of delighted laughter and merriment.

Now, compare this bit of levity to the recent Budweiser campaign featuring the talking frogs and lizards. It is common knowledge that lizards and frogs can't talk, so this freakish defiance of nature's laws provokes a confused reaction. Where did these lizards learn the English language? Where did they pick up the regional dialect? And since when do amphibians of any sort consume beer? How could the producers of these ads expect the public to buy into the ludicrous premise of beer-swilling iguanas with powers of speech?

Have the higher minds at Budweiser forgotten their own Spuds MacKenzie, the beer-drinking "party animal" of the fraternity Tappa Kegga Bud? Spuds never uttered a single syllable and went on to become an internationally recognized icon of the go-go '80s. Who, meanwhile, cares a whit about the Bud frogs? Nary a soul.

And what about human personalities? In the '80s we had Dangerfield, Bob "I Must Be In The Front Row" Uecker, Bubba Smith, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Joe "Python" Piscopo, and pool-player extraordinaire Steve Mizerak. And what have we today? Those faceless shills who prattle "Wazzup" as they remain lethargically splayed on the davenport. Can our beer-commercial standards sink any lower?

And what sort of catchphrase is "Wazzup"? It is not even a proper English word! In my day, the slogans were at least complete sentences, like the poignant, "It just doesn't get any better than this." But even phrases that weren't full sentences were infectiously catchy. Sports enthusiasts of today still chant the "Tastes Great, Less Filling" slogan of the '70s and '80s. Meanwhile, "Wazzup" has already been supplanted in Budweiser ads by the shamelessly derivative "What are you doing?" Appalling!

Most importantly, to paraphrase Pete Seeger, where have all the hot chicks gone? In the glory days of the beer commercial, we had the Swedish bikini team and the Amazonian babes playing volleyball using the Rocky Mountains as a net. All the recent Corona ads offer is a faceless woman lounging in a beach chair propped up by cell phone.

As a male viewer, I want to be reassured that drinking a certain beer brand will make me desirable to supermodels and other unattainable women. Once upon a time, the simple act of cracking open an MGD or an Old Milwaukee held the promise of scantily clad young ladies mobbing a man to bathe in his alcohol-tainted essence, with strains of Eric Clapton's reworked "After Midnight" playing in the background. Sadly, an entire generation of boys is now growing up unaware that there exist harsh deserts that, at the twist of a bottle cap, turn into snow-covered party paradises, complete with bikini-clad sex kittens and caravans of 18-wheelers fully stocked with ice-cold Bud.

Hear my plea, beer-commercial directors. We can fix this problem. Next time, instead of making another Coors ad with a faux web-browser look, try putting that creativity to constructive use. Give us Pete Sampras or Norm Macdonald spouting a few zingers. Or, better yet, a fraternity pool party with two guys shotgunning a couple of beers, only to be attacked by the U.S. Women's Naked Soccer team. Only then will our beer commercials once again achieve greatness.