The State of the Sleaze 2006

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AS THE 2005-06 beer commercial season comes to a close this weekend, I’ve gotta say I’ve never been more disappointed in my life. It’s almost as if Budweiser has been sandbagging us since September, just waiting to roll out a high-def blockbuster on Super Sunday. Because so far, this season will go down as the least memorable in post-frog history.

I mean, relying on Ted Ferguson, Bud Light Daredevil, as your MVP is like trying to make the playoffs with Reno Mahe at starting running back. This series of ads just doesn’t have the legs.

What, no catfights, no threesomes, no Coors Twins? And forget about talking lizards. Instead, we got preppy-looking beer execs trying to keep a straight face while using the word “quality” to describe their factory-made swill.

The sad result is that Joe Sixpack’s 4th Annual State of the Sleaze has all the bite of John Madden doing color at an Amish interpretative dance recital.

This ain’t sleaze, this is b-o-r-i-n-g.

One other thing: Did everyone throw in the towel this season and concede Total Beer Domination to BudCoorsMiller? I caught most of the NFL playoffs, and I’ll be damned if I saw a single commercial for anyone other than the Big 3.

No Becks, no Heineken, no Corona, not even a dependably goofy Guinness spot.

The silver lining, however, is that there were also no commercials for Michelob Ultra. Last year we were getting swamped with ads urging us couch potatoes to suck down cans of watery low-carb beer, then go run a marathon. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Aspen Edge?

Enough. On to my ratings, where, on a scale of 1 to 6, a 1 is enough to force you to change the channel to the women’s senior golf circuit.

Coors Light

Rating: 1.5

Spot: The owner.

Pete Coors, having lost his bid for the U.S. Senate, is back traipsing through the snow-covered mountains. Is that his limo I see, parked over there behind that pine?

Somebody’s gotta tell Coors that that whole Rocky Mountain thing is over, especially now that the crud we drink here in the East is made in Virginia.

Budweiser Select

Rating: 1.5.

Spot: The owner’s son.

So-called “sixth-generation brewmaster” Augie Busch IV, looking uncomfortably out of place in a barroom, touts his brewery’s latest flavor-deprived lager, claiming it contains actual hops. Well, I guess it’s tough to wax poetic about all that rice.

But here’s my question: Who’s the knucklehead who thought beer drinkers would take advice from an overprivileged heir to a brewery fortune? I see this weenie and figure he’s going to be calling his father to bail him out after spending the night with hookers and mai tais.

Miller Lite

Rating: 3.

Spot: Halftime sprint.

This season, Miller’s telling us don’t miss a thing. So, at halftime, everybody makes a sprint for another 12-pack of cans to get back home in time for the action. Another one has a guy stretching his TV’s extension cord to the deli.

There’s some potential here, but these should be funny, and they’re not. I see this commercial coming and I head for the bathroom because, thank God, I haven’t run out of beer. Yet.

Bud Light

Rating: 3.

Spot: Ted Ferguson, Bud Light Daredevil.

Take a look at this dude – he’s supposed to be some kind of heroic Everyman, able to withstand an afternoon at the mall, working past 5 on a Friday, having lunch with his girlfriend without gawking at the babes.

It’s just not working, mainly because the set-up takes too long to explain. But also: manly? How ’bout drinking something other than that girly beer, pal.


Rating: 3.5.

Spot: Horse refs.

The Clydesdales are naturals when it comes to commercials. I just love those guys.

But the “jackass” joke (“No, I believe that’s a zebra”) is lame. I don’t blame it on the horse, though. He’s just an actor.

Coors Light

Rating: 5.

Spot: “Love Train” retro.

The O’Jays are so good, I don’t care if their ode to world harmony is debased to shill for fizzy yellow water. Add Harry Kalas’ voice-over and those old shots from Super Bowls past, and this is easily the best beer commercial of the season.

I’m astonished, though, at the almost complete absence of cleavage, here. We used to depend on head-for-the-mountains Coors for our pulchritude fix, but other than a flirty flash from a cheerleader, this one’s strictly G-rated. *

Joe Sixpack by Don Russell appears weekly in Big Fat Friday. This week’s column was written with a bottle of Samuel Adams Brown Ale. Enjoy it during the Super Bowl with hot roast beef sandwiches.


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