Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kathryn Bigelow cashes check from Budweiser

Illustration for article titled Kathryn Bigelow cashes check from Budweiser
Screenshot: YouTube

The Super Bowl, an expensive sporting event in which two large groups of men play a game between blocks of commercials, approaches. That means we’re about to start seeing a lot of high-profile advertisements made by or featuring big, notable names not commonly associated with 30-second spots. Cheetos has already released a teaser for its big at-bat—yes, a teaser for an advertisement—which serves as an origin story for MC Hammer’s biggest hit. Squarespace will run an ad starring Winona Ryder. And Planters straight-up murdered Mr. Peanut.

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Now Budweiser, of galloping horses and “wassaaap” fame, has released one of what will probably be several ads from Anheuser-Busch InBev. It’s directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to ever win an Academy Award for directing. And it’s... this?

Patriotic Budweiser commercials are nothing new. Snarky Budweiser commercials are nothing new. A snarky patriotic Budweiser commercial seems kind of new. The 60-second spot, title “Typical Americans,” features inspiring acts from, yes, “typical” Americans. As produced by agency David Miami, the ad juxtaposes these extraordinary moments—some big, some intimate—with a sardonic voiceover that lists off stereotypes about Americans (some of them kind of weird: Are we known for constantly taking our clothes off in public?) The idea is to debunk those stereotypes—it’s a whole #NotAllAmericans kind of thing, up to and including a shot of the Free Hugs Guy (activist Ken E. Nwadike, Jr.) hugging a cop in riot gear.

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Monica Rustgi, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing, explained the ad’s aims to Adweek:

2020 is a year where we have the Olympics ahead of us, and the elections ahead of us, and so we wanted to invigorate everyone to come together [and] realize their potential as Americans, all while enjoying a refreshing, cool Bud.

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In addition to Nwadike, the ad features World Cup champs Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris; marathon runner Hannah Gavios, who in 2019 completed her second New York City marathon since she fell off a cliff while running from an attacker, a fall which left her partially paralyzed; a firefighter; two people who went out of their way to help someone else, one on a snowy road, one on a train car, and others. They are all admirable acts! Kathryn Bigelow is a good director! The spot is a 60-second ad for Budweiser that basically implies that Americans are Bud-drinking heroes and all those mean old foreigners just don’t know us very well!

Who knows, your mileage may vary. (Adweek called it a “patriotic tearjerker.”) But we’d rather have the horses.

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Kathryn Bigelow, go ahead and cash that check. You deserve to make a self-satisfied Super Bowl commercial every once in a while. Cash it, buy yourself a margarita or something, and we’ll pretend this never happened.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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