Killing Brain Cells Efficiently

I think the beer advertisers are out of ideas. A recent TV commercial by… geez, I can’t even remember which brewery… Budweiser? Let’s say Budweiser. Anyway, it suggests that they have really stepped things up to meet consumer demand:

You said you wanted a beer that was ice cold. Done!

Excuse me? This is neither a challenge, nor the responsibility of the beer company. At last check, the brewery’s job is to produce piss-coloured (and in some cases, flavoured) liquid intoxicants, and my job is to put it in the fridge, thus keeping it chilly and suppressing the actual taste.

I’m particularly critical of this because I just finished reading The Efficient Society by Joseph Heath. He says that for some products, advertising cannot increase the size of the market, but can only lead to changes in a company’s market share. For example, this completely mindless ad will not likely convince anyone to start drinking beer, but it might lure an Old Milwaukee drinker to try a Bud. The problem is that all beer companies advertise, essentially just stealing bits of market share from each other and spending billions of dollars without a marked increase in profits to any company. It would be more efficient if all the beer companies would agree not to advertise, and spend the money on anything from charity to product improvements to (gasp!) lowered prices for the consumer. The problem is that no company will stop advertising unless their competition does too. This is where the government can play a strong role in increasing the efficiency of a state in general: by legislating an end to advertising (such as with doctors and tobacco), they can make otherwise wasteful, commoditized markets more efficient, which results in a better quality of life for everybody.

Intriguing read.

UPDATE: The beer in question is Coors Light. I’m hoping that they’re being facetious and I’m just an idiot who’s missing the joke. Otherwise some ad guy needs to get fired.

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