Questionable Advertising

So I was reading Grand Rounds this week (it’s well worth a read, by the way, although extremely long), and one of the featured posts gave me food for thought.

The post was about an advertisement for non-alcoholic beer, using a “pregnant” woman as the selling aid.

The ad, at first glance, looks like a lot of beer ads–bikini clad chick, tanned, long hair, smouldering eyes, beer…and a belly. A clearly photoshopped belly, because the rest of her certainly doesn’t look very pregnant. The sight caused such cognitive dissonance that I had to close my eyes, blink firmly, and reopen them just to check that I was, in fact, seeing what I thought I was seeing.

“Drink beer while you’re pregnant, and look like this,” the ad screams.


Well, upon closer examination it turns out that the copy is, in fact, for non-alcoholic beer, which is an improvement. I know a lot of my pregnant friends are really missing the joys of beer, and they are looking forward to having a few sips after the little bundle of joy pops out. (Consumption of alcohol while breast feeding is still harmful, though not as dangerous as it is during pregnancy. And why buy formula when you can get the milk for free? And trim off the pregnancy weight, if you’re into that kind of thing.) I suppose if you’re craving the beer flavour, non-alcoholic might be a good way to go. (Disclaimer: I’ve never consumed non-alcoholic beer. For all I know, it tastes like camel’s urine. Anyone want to fill me in?)

But this ad troubles me, for many of the same reasons it troubles Jenifer.

For starters, pregnant women don’t look like that. I mean, I like pregnant ladies. I think they look really cool, and it’s odd for someone who loathes children to say this, but I kind of have a pregnant lady fetish. They fascinate me. But your body undergoes changes with pregnancy, and that’s a fact of life. I think some of these changes are really neat–the healthier skin, and smirk, and so on, but then again I’ve never been pregnant so I haven’t dealt with some of the more unpleasant side affects, like having to pee all the time. Some pregnant women really struggle with this, and ads like this showing a model-trim anoretic body with a belly probably don’t make them feel any better. I mean, I’m not pregnant, and I would love to look like that model.

Secondly, alcohol is damaging to babies. I disagree with the hard line “all booze is bad” take on things, because I don’t think small amounts of wine and beer are very harmful, and there is some medical research to agree with me. But on the other hand, I don’t think we should be promoting the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, and non-alcoholic beer ads climb a slippery slope for me, personally.

It is, as Jenifer says, a fantasy, and it’s a fantasy I don’t like. Most of the time ads just confuse me. Sometimes I get it and chuckle. And sometimes, I’m confused and then I’m offended–I think this ad falls into the latter category.

Thirdly, everyone knows non-alcoholic beer is for lamers anyway. Clearly the beer companies realize this if they’re targeting ads at pregnant women, for Pete’s sake.

[non-alcoholic beer]