Guess I shouldn’t have let my soon-to-be-13-year-old son watch the Super Bowl while he was reading Hemingway on his nook, poised to call me to the tube in time to catch the newest commercial. Turns out while I was fiddling, Rome burned down ‘round his innocent ears and eyes as he was exposed to a beer commercial that presented a scenario of bonehead guys crashing a book club and making dopey double entendre to the chicks attending. 

As is wont to happen, folks outraged by the ad are online viraling more ad-bang for the beer co’s buck while all atwitter over the abject disrespect shown book clubs.  And women. They feel the ad suggests women who read are silly/not all geniuses/not all opposed to men visiting their book clubs/[fill in the blank]. Or that reading is unnecessary in general, or for women/men/pretty women/cute guys/[fill in the blank]. In addition, it’s been attested to by many concerned literati that the beer being advertised isn’t really good anyway. So there.

Even our brother readers bear with Alan Alda-like zeal the banner for female book-club members on this one. For instance, one male online commentator says beware the ad's incontrovertible message which allows men and boys watching to infer that chicks in book clubs happily will halt novel dissection mid-"Pride and Prejudice” to fellate randy-but-not-necessarily-bright guys who make beer-drinking nuisances of themselves while disparaging literacy in barely literate ways.

I missed that part. And, believe me, if you’ve read me here at BN, you can trust I replayed the ad trying to catch it.  Because, frankly, even the mere suggestion of some Guys-Gone-Bonehead action might have convinced me to accept an invite to join one of the suburban-mom book groups that assured me they never read romance of any sort.

Years ago, my feminism-is-either-black-or-white world view would’ve colored me affronted out-of-hand by the book-club-crashers beer commercial. But musing on Super-Bowl ads got me thinking about an older Super-Bowl beer commercial which still bothers me.  In it, horse flatulence is ignited, and the punch-line of the ad is the hair and face of the woman riding behind the animal being scorched and singed. Now there was a real knee-slapper.

Keeping that in mind, in the scheme of things detrimental to women’s places in society, the state of literacy and men’s opinions of each, I’m not too bent out of shape about a beer ad I think is wicked way more derogatory toward doofy guy stereotypes than chicks or reading.

Like everyone, I’ve got an opinion. But I also exercise my influence close to home, addressing issues like this with my kids when so moved.  Hey, there’s an idea: Let’s turn this into a teachable moment for our sons.  Remind them that when a woman says no -- you can’t join my book club – she always means no.

What do you think is the ad’s message about book clubs and reading? Do you find it a pop-culture work-of-art in which everyone’s the target of deprecating humor -- or a masterpiece in misogyny and illiteracy promotion?


Michelle Buonfiglio writes daily about romance fiction at BN’s Heart to Heart and and Tuesdays at BN’s Unabashedly Bookish. Buonfiglio also authors the popular RBTB NEWs romance newsletter.


Dying for Romance?: Every day this month, meet and swap comments w/a different top romantic suspense author at BN’s Mystery boards as moderator Becke Davis celebrates Valentine’s Day with a Month of Romantic Suspense!


by Moderator dhaupt on ‎02-09-2010 09:35 AM

Wow, that was deep. As in knee deep in doo doo deep. As a member of many book clubs in-person and in the ether I was not offended by the commercial. If I were a man with any intelligence who thought with any thing besides his little head, I would be offended that they made my gender (species really) look so stupid. Oh wait I bet men came up with the idea for and made that commercial, because women wouldn't have seen or gotten the humor of it. Wait there was no humor in it. So in reality all across the country women are scratching their heads and reaching for their volume of Men are from Mars Women are from Venus. 


by Author MonicaBurns on ‎02-09-2010 09:52 AM

I'll be honest, I despise the ad. It bashes men AND women. First off, there's  the guy who barges into the group SIMPLY because the women have good taste in beer. He's rude, obnoxious and obviously there simply for the beer. He dismisses their discussion by virtue of asking a question then completely ignoring the answer. THEN at the end of the commerical you see more guys who've shown up STRICTLY for the beer (which was the entire marketing point of the commercial) unable to converse intelligently with the woman who inquires as to whether he's read Little Women. The guys come across as moronic idiots and the women are portrayed as willing to give up an intelectual discussion to spend time with said idiots.


Personally, I found a LOT of the commercials this year offensive. For the second year in a row, the violence in the commercials has risen way too much for me. What's with all the face slapping and punching?


Of course, I was pleased to see a NEW Budwiser Clydesdale commercial and the new eTrade babies was hysterical. And David Letterman, Oprah and Jay were pretty funny too.


But, yeah that Bud Light skit stunk. I would have loved it if they'd made the guys out to be like the guy in the Jane Austen Book Club. He was awesomely hot, incredibly intelligent AND he liked older woman. WHY can't there be a commerical out there that reflects something like that movie??

by Blogger Melissa-Walker on ‎02-09-2010 09:59 AM

You know, I didn't hate the ad, but I did notice a trend of "this is what men are like, this is what women are like" commercials during the Superbowl, and it annoyed me. Reductive and not funny enough to get away with that.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎02-09-2010 11:10 AM

I don't hate it, I just think it's dumb. I think most commercials are dumb, and they rarely -- if ever -- influence my buying decisions. But a commercial I hate can make me STOP buying a product or brand I used previously.

by on ‎02-09-2010 11:48 AM

I don't hate it either. But as Becke says, I just think it's dumb. Besides the one book club I was in served wine. And I like wine better than beer. So the commercial has no influence over me. I also don't see how a guy would think this was funny and make him want to buy the beer. I think this commercial was a waster of their money.

by on ‎02-09-2010 01:03 PM

I think the ad is trying to say that the beer is so wonderful that a dumb jock would even sit in a book club discussion about a book that seems only of interest to women (hey, he's a dumb jock - what do you expect?). 


The guy looks like an idiot.  Unfortunately, the women don't come across as being too bright, either.  Real women would have thrown him out on his keister at the first double entendre, if not before.


No worse than "Dumb and Dumber". 

by coffee_luvr on ‎02-09-2010 01:50 PM

The commercial didn't really bother me.  Like someone else posted, I thought most commercials during the super bowl this year were pretty lame.  After most of them, my husband and I looked at each other with a quizzical look, like what was the point?? 


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