Alcohol ads deceive drinkers’ taste buds

Though my stories and editorials may not cover the groundbreaking, hard-hitting stories of today (such as the inauguration of a new president), I would still like to believe that I touch on points of interest that are—if nothing else—mildly amusing and relevant for students.

That being said, I really like alcohol. I enjoy the warm and relaxing feeling it instills. I enjoy the temporary relief from anxiety and unimportant concerns. I enjoy the way it helps me sleep. But notice how I never said I enjoyed the taste. That’s because I don’t. So why are beer and liquor companies trying to sell me on what has to be the worst aspect of their products?

Well, reasoning points to the fact that slight variations in taste are really all that differentiates this light beer from that light beer. Fine, that’s fair enough; taste probably is the main noticeable difference between two different vodkas or whiskeys or whatever, but alcohol marketing teams must really be putting a lot of stock into relativity. To say that this vodka tastes better than that vodka is like saying this poop tastes better than that poop. While this could be very true, I’m still not interested in consuming your excrement.

I probably wouldn’t mind as much if the focus really did just stick to comparing the taste of one brand to that of another. For example, Smirnoff commercials will tell us that their vodka won in a taste test, and though I will cringe at the thought of a vodka taste test, I at least understand that vodka is being compared to vodka, and one really does have to taste better (or less awful).

The bigger problem is the embellishment that is added on to brands’ taste arguments. Beer commercials are typically the guiltiest of this. Though I applaud the attempts (and frequent successes) at humor and creativity, there are certain parts that could just be left out.

Here we have a typical beer commercial: Three awesome dudes are hanging out, watching the game and, of course, enjoying some allegedly unique beer that truly has no substitute. Then something zany happens as the result of one dude’s complete ineptitude with. We, the audience, roll around with laughter at the sheer cleverness and wit that these infallible advertisers have graciously bestowed upon us.

But then something unfortunate happens. Suddenly we are exposed to extreme close-ups of this beer either being poured into a glass, exploding out of an ice mountain or simply spinning around to reveal its label, all while a voiceover talks about how cool and refreshing the beer is.

Alright, fun time is over. Cool and refreshing? There is not some magic ingredient in beer that always keeps it at a brisk 37 degrees Fahrenheit; the stuff can get warm, I promise. To make such a sweeping statement about the product on an aspect that is very situational is ridiculous.

As far as refreshment goes, by definition you could probably argue that beer is refreshing in that it can restore energy and vitality. However, in a real-life situation when you’re thirsty, you probably aren’t going to reach for something that will further dehydrate you. Therefore, refreshment doesn’t seem to pan out well either.

And now we have “drinkability.” Thanks, Bud Light. You’ve taken a word that is used so infrequently, it almost sounds made up. To base your entire campaign around a word that is this dumb is rather gutsy, so congratulations. Apparently, Bud Light wants you to know that their product is very easy to drink, and they have decided to accomplish this goal by packaging it in a word that is almost embarrassing to say. Too bad “Bud Light: It’s yummy for your tummy!” didn’t take off.

But even with all of my nitpicking about how these commercials focus on more politically correct attributes like taste, refreshment and drinkability (instead of the riskier yet more pleasant mind-altering effects) does not mean I’m going to boycott the brands. I’ll continue to enjoy these beverages and somehow overlook borderline asinine statements like “a taste as cold as the Rockies.”