After that last rant, I got the thought that I shouldn’t be so negative. After all, maybe these ad executives just need some guidance. There is a way to make the “manliness” angle work in advertising without being patronizing to men, insulting to women, and an all-around irritant to everybody. An example is the Keith Stone commercials from Keystone Light, one of which is below.
Now, Keystone Light isn’t a beer I’d normally choose to drink, but I always remember the name, which shows that these commercials are effective. They’re also funny, in a way that plays off the “manliness” of Keith Stone without really being insulting to anyone. The commercials have a ’70s vibe that allows them to present a scruffy-looking dude as a male paragon, without indulging in any of the misogyny or male panic that infects other advertisements and shows using this theme. The campaign also recognizes that light beer isn’t macho no matter how “manly” you try to make it seem, and so it winks at the idea with its various scenarios.
Arguably the Miller Lite “man up” commercials are also doing this. The difference is that every single person in the Miller Lite ads is a repellent asshole. The Keith Stone character, however, generally comes across as a nice guy who wants to help a lady out. That doesn’t mean these ads are perfect, but they’re a much more pleasant way of marketing through manliness than the odium we’re being subjected to from other advertisers.