Twenty percent of American drinkers consume 80 percent of the alcohol.
Perhaps the most cynical subterfuge in American advertising is the alcohol industry’s indifferent campaign to get us to “drink responsibly.” Intuitively, you know they’re lying but you need to do the math to see how important it is to brewers and distillers that at least some of us drink irresponsibly.
If there are 100 bottles of beer on the wall and 100 people in the room, the numbers tell us that 20 people will consume 4 bottles each (80 bottles) and 80 people will share the remaining 20 bottles, or 1/4 bottle each. This means that the average alcohol abuser (a member of the Group of Twenty) consumes sixteen times as much alcohol as a non-abuser.
Now, imagine yourself sitting in a pitch meeting at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Your job is to sell as much of your client’s product as possible. Who are the buyers? Well, you can try to recruit customers from among the non-abusers but that’s a hell of a lot of work for little return. If you’re smart, you go after the abusers, the alcoholics, because that’s where the money is.
How? By sending the alcoholic a subtle message that he’s earned the right to drink as much as he wants.
Consider the slogans (and the hidden message):
Head for the mountains. Go ahead, check out and get hammered. These people are assholes anyway.
For all you do, this Bud’s for you. Poor baby, you work your ass off at your job. You get home and your fucking wife starts in on you like you don’t already have enough troubles.
Where there’s life, there’s Bud. Iced tea and lemon bars? Jesus, this party sucks!
I’m only here for the beer. (This one is so cunningly complete as to defy elaboration).
It’s all about the beer. (ditto)
It’s what’s inside that truly counts. The bitch just doesn’t understand me.
Would you say no to another? Does the Pope shit in the woods?
It doesn’t get any better than this! Does it?
Sooner or later you’ll get it. Someday all of you assholes will realize how right I am.
If I wanted water, I would have asked for water. Jesus Christ, what does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?
Smirnoff Ice. Intelligent Nightlife. I like to associate with a more erudite crowd. Godammit Bubba, you threw up on my shoes again!
Our Hand Has Never Lost Its Skill. And you should see what I can do with my other hand while I’m drinking this Schaefer.
Give him a right good Hemeling tonight. Hemeling, you bitch, not Heimlich!
Real men of genius. Just like those guys, I come up with my best ideas when I’m hammered.
The most interesting man in the world. We’re buddies. Grew up together. Taught him everything he knows.
It won’t slow you down.
Tastes great, less filling.
Everything you always wanted in a beer. And less.
Lose the carbs. Not the taste.
Beerspeak for “All the alcohol without the beer gut. Trust us.”