Page 343

328

DEEPER WATERS

across a rain-slicked pavement on a bicycle. They are right there, in a world I know. Surrounded by guys who look like you and me. Third, look at what they are doing. They are not doing heroic things—slam-dunking, running marathons, or hitting the ball out of the park. The ad does not document just how little they have in common with the average guy. Instead, it shows them doing all the things that average guys do: competing (the Ben Davidson ad), boasting (the “tall tales” ad by Brian Anderson and the Brits Gresham ad), making fun of one another (the Deford and Billy Martin ad). All of this is regular-guy stuff. And the fact that it is being done by athletes lets the campaign actually deposit Riggins’s meanings right into the lives of regular guys. All of this builds a connection. Fourth, look at the role that some of the athletes play. To be sure, Butkus, Smith, Davidson, and Deacon Jones are there to make sure that the ad captures Riggins’s masculinity. But John Madden, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bob Uecker are there for another reason. Each of these guys works in the ad because it helps the ad duplicate the world of the average consumer. Every group of guys has a guy like John Madden (at least, as he appears in Miller Lite ads). Madden always appears at the end of the commercial in a lather, saying “Hey, we can break this tie; we can take these guys.” There is a John Madden–type guy in every group, a guy who never knows when to quit. These are guys you admire and indulge because they take the “force of nature” thing to the limit. They just can’t stop. These guys endear themselves to other males because they capture this Riggins quality. And that’s part of the role for Rodney Dangerfield and Bob Uecker. Every group of guys has a klutz and a faker on its margin. These guys would like to be closer to the center of the group, but in fact, the Riggins males won’t let them in because they cannot make the grade. They stand as lessons in how not to be a Riggins male. In other words, this campaign does more than just play out the world of the superhero; it also plays out the world of the average beer consumer. It plays out the known universe, with its

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Advertisement