Barbara Lippert’s Critique

Why haven’t other beer ad vertisers tried advertising as simple and unfiltered as this?

I refer to the latest outdoor and print campaign for Tequiza, a newish tequila-flavored beer from Anheuser-Busch. Several friends who ride the New York subway have mentioned the brash yellow ads to me. The collection of one- and two-line statements takes up whole cars. And they sure get the blood pumping in a way that the ads for Dr. Zizmor’s patented pimple-removal system never could.

The sensibility combines that of Sat urday Night Live’s subliminal guy with the current Sex and the City-inspired infatuation with discarding inhibitions and revealing your inner bitch. “Sure, call me. I have caller ID,” says one ad. Another announces, “I’m only laughing ’cause you’re my boss.”

“Feels good to say what you really, think, huh?” the body copy in some of the print ads asks. (“Speak your mind. Drink your beer” appears in every one, along with the tagline “Beer w/o borders.”) The question seems to be addressed to men and women (which is a breakthrough)—and, by the same token, the ads are equal-opportunity offenders. It’s the stuff about sex, especially, that crosses borders and withholds nothing.

“Actually, size does matter,” one states matter-of-factly. But in the contemporary baring-all department, the show stopper is “They’re not real, so what.” How’s that for a post-Monica gender truism? Forty or so years after the start of the women’s movement, and about thirty since plastic sur gery became available to the masses, these two social trends have intersected in a way Gloria Steinem never could have predicted.

Instead of bra burning, we now have the implant-liberation movement. And it took a beer company, usually the bastion of manly-man clichés, to bring the boob job out of the closet.

So much for Pamela Anderson’s still-in-denial claim that her implants were “removed,” or Courtney Love’s as sertion that she merely had her breasts “lifted.” Or, lest we forget the sudden sproutage of last summer, Britney Spears’ hemming and hawing and thanking Mother Nature for the growth spurt. This truly new notion of implant power brings the Swedish Bikini Team full circle.

No less an authority than The New York Times has confirmed it: “Movies, magazines, television and video games have trained the eye to con sider the enhanced breast the norm,” the paper stated in a piece last week about the re-emergence of the bikini, particularly in the over-40 crowd. Now, thanks to Anheuser-Busch, our cleavaged sisters can proclaim at the barricades, “Say it loud! They’re sa line, and I’m proud!”

Actually, the Dieste agency is a regular bastion of gender jokes. A Tequiza ad that runs in Playboy re verses the usual fiction: “I buy it for the centerfold.”

Another interesting border crossing here is that Dieste is otherwise the Hispanic-market agency for Bud Light, but it got assigned the “general-market” account for Tequiza. This is good news—as the world gets more and more urban and “ethnic” (meaning non-white), those very designations are outdated.

What’s most refreshing is how the campaign strays from all the usual beer-drinker stereotypes. And it also proves there’s a whole wide world of commuters out there ready to get a taste of the truth, even if, like the beer, it’s a little sour.