Archive: Mon Aug 2009

Dmitriy T.M. sent us a link to an AdWeek post reporting that Miller Beer began advertising in Vietnam last week with this commercial:


Some sociologists who study international relations apply the idea of the brand to nations.  Nations, they argue, can be seen as a product in a global marketplace. Australia, for example, is marketed as a rough and tumble place where we can get back to nature and find our true selves. Insofar as they can can control their brand, countries can draw tourism and increase demand for their exports (see here and here for Australian examples).

The ad above is an excellent example of Miller capitalizing on the American brand: “It’s American Time. It’s Miller Time.” Notice also that the ad is in English and doesn’t feature anyone that looks Vietnamese. The whiteness of the ad is purposeful. Miller is selling a specific version of “America” characterized by white people, urban life, sex-mixed socializing and, also, really bad music.

UPDATE!  In the comments, Adam linked to this ad which ran in the Phillipines:


You can also think of the California happy cows commercials as a form of state branding.

See herehere, and herefor posts showing the social construction of America as white.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

We’ve posted in the past about how cigarettes have been marketed to women: as ways to lose weight, a form of personal liberation (more examples of this marketing theme here and here) as a way to calm down stressed moms, and doctor-approved methods of clearing up skin problems.

A while back Emily M. sent us a link to an article at the Onion A.V. Club that shows how men have been portrayed in cigarette ads. They provide a nice comparison to female-oriented marketing campaigns.

A recurring theme is that of a men as rugged individualists who go out and explore wild, remote, presumably dangerous places on their own. The Marlboro Man is the most familiar example, but Camel’s “where a man belongs” campaign also stressed this image:


Another major theme we see is cigarettes as facilitators of male bonding:



Other times we see men smoking as they do Really Intense Work:


Also see our post on Tiparillo cigarettes as a way to get hot women and Skoal use as male bonding that will get you out of a speeding ticket.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.