I found these two Miller Lite ads in QVegas, a magazine aimed at the GLBT community.
It would be interesting to pair with these ads for Skyy vodka to illustrate how companies make different ads to target different audiences. If you find an ad offensive or dumb, it’s not necessarily an ineffective ad, it’s that you probably aren’t the target consumer and it’s not supposed to appeal to you.
NEW! Philip D. sent in a link to a post by Sister Toldja at Me, Myself An Eye about slightly different versions of ads for Crown Royal. This one is presumably aimed at a general audience:
Text: “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?”
Sister Toldja suspects that this one is targeted more specifically at African Americans:
Text: “Oh, hell no.”
Now, just to be clear, I’m not arguing these are racist ads. I just think they would provide a good example to start students thinking about the fact that a) advertisers actively market to various groups by trying to appeal to them in specific ways that may differ from an ad made for a “mainstream” or “general” audience (i.e., one that would presumably appeal to just about everybody) and b) they do this by playing on stereotypes or cultural assumptions about what different groups like (or are like). What separates these two ads into “mainstream” and “Black” ones? Simply the presence of a phrase that many people associate with African Americans (although I have to admit I mostly associate it with one of my male cousins more than anyone else). You might start with this example, which is fairly innocuous, I think, and then start asking students to think about other ways advertisers might indicate who an ad is supposed to appeal to (men or women, gay or straight, or more broadly to “everyone”). When do these efforts become problematic?