Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three Guys Walk Into a Bar

Three guys with a perfectly acceptable race-balance and blend of machismo with friendliness walk into a bar...

Three guys working hard feel a little bit thirsty...


Three guys chilling out feel like a beer...


Some negative comments about the new Heineken ad made me think about the whole genre of beer advertising, and in particular just how outdated some of the 'three men and a little lager' ads feel. Though thankfully there aren't too many of them left.


Carlsberg has kept things interesting by having a great tagline, but they recently confused the hell out of it by introducing a second tagline that doesn't seem to fit.


Strongbow's latest ads however, raise a smile but they couldn't feel more like they are trying to be identifiable if the voiceover screamed "Look hard working cockney geezer, this 'ere hard working chap is just like you, maybe you should drink Strongbow too". Were it not a pastiche idea the shot where they look over at the pub would have made me cringe.


There have been so many 'three guys in a pub' ads. Some are funny, or silly, but most just feel like the same template. The beer ads we remember now are the ones that are more expansive, those with wider ideas and themes.


Although maybe, just maybe the criticism of the over-elaborate styling and content of these new beer ads opens up an opportunity for some good ads in the old way. After all, John Webster made the 'three guys in a pub' extremely interesting back in the seventies and early eighties. If we do it though, let's at least do it well.

2 comments:

Jam said...

I can't remember where, but I remember hearing that for guys in a pub situations, 1 = loner, 2 = gay, but that seems way too simplistic. It's true that the ads we remember feel like they have more to talk about than the pub and the drink themselves. Guinness - Swimmer in particular.

Is it time for the end of the beer-as-sketch provider model? Perhaps there are ways through - the whole Carlsberg 'sponsors of original Comedy' model, for example...

Rob Mortimer said...

No that's correct. By law you couldn't have one or two guys in a pub, it's why there are always three!

A ludicrous rule really.