Football and lager ads: The rules

I have a a real hatred for adverts that pander to volume lager drinkers as they’re almost always without wit, humour or any sort of acknowledgement that people who actually choose to go to a pub a sup a pint of Carling, Carlsberg or Fosters are bell-ends.

It should come as no surprise that there’s usually something deeply dumb about these ads, most of which have some sort of relationship to footy and, thus, hints of Eng-er-land-style racism. This is the response form the target demographic these ads are seeking:

“Quality mate! Fucking quality! Quality banter! Fucking banter! Quality!”

The approach of the European Championships means that we’ll probably have a glut of such adverts coming up, showing a trio of gormless berks grinning, cross-eyed and slack-jawed at a plasma screen.

Carlsberg’s Fan Camp ads led me to ponder a few ruled for these sort of ads and the thinking behind them. As it goes it’s not a bad effort, with some amusing elements and a dash of self-awareness. That said it’s clearly hideous, because it’s bridging the idiot gap of cheap lager and football.

Anyway, here’s my list of rules for making a volume lager ad when there’s a footy tournament on:

Any group of lads is best kept to three. Two blokes together might be homosexuals; more than three whiffs of a gang of lager louts. One bloke drinking alone suggests there’s something sad about drinking, not to mention the spectre of alcoholism.

They must not be especially good-looking, nor must they be ugly. One who’s a bit fat and one who looks a bit of a dweeb is a good. Make sure there are some black fellas in there somewhere too. They must all look like they’re called Dave if possible.

Round up a collection of former England stars. Ones that are likely to appeal to people who drink a lot of lager are good. Stuart Pearce, Gazza, Terry Butcher – people like that.

You will also need some bona fide England legends, whether footballing or not. The Charltons, Ian Botham, Redgrave – people like that. A smattering of other recognisable Brits like Steve Davis, Phil Taylor, Des Lynam, Kelly Holmes are also acceptable.

Give some thought to referencing someone who’s actually dead in an effort to sell your shit lager. Bobby Robson and Bobby Moore have appeared in previous ads.

Try to get some England 1966 shirts involved somewhere.

Have some sort of identifiably English music. Jerusalem should do it. Or else some modern-day landfill indie rock. Kasabian, Hard Fi etc. Failing that something ironic: Dad’s Army etc.

Imply that football is somehow akin to war, battle and glory.

Get Ian Wright gibbering like a twat.

Align your lager with England – even if it’s not remotely English (ref. Carlsberg).

Plenty of St George’s flags. You may or may not tie this in with a vague xenophobia – ‘make them regret the day they took on England’ – at this point.

Stick to those rules, chuck half a million quid at it and you should have an ad capable of being indistinguishable from everyone else’s – and ensuring you sell eight per cent more pints of gassy, chemicaly idiot pop.

Drinks all round, I think!

PS. Here’s one that only follows a few of the rules:

Carlsberg World Cup ad treads a familiar and depressing route

I enjoyed the first two thirds or so of this. Yes, it slots into every box-ticking FUCKING FOOTY IS FUCKING BRILLIANT AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING! category imaginable these days.

Yes there’s the usual dodgy jingoism about it all, and, yes it’s the usual footy+lager/MacDonalds/chocolate meme we get every world cup (see also: Venables, Redknapp and Wright disaster confluence).

I like Jackie Charlton’s appearance – it’s a link back to football was a nobler, less commodified pursuit – and I like some of the voiceover; it’s almost as if it’s a reminder to overpaid, spoilt Premiership stars to buck their bloody ideas up and remember they’re not just playing for themselves.

The appearance of some of England’s foremost sportspeople is an important reminder than we’re a little country capable of great things, before it goes all foreigner-baiting with the quite astonishing “You’ll make them regret the day they took on England!’.

Worse than that, though, is the use of the images of Bobby Moore and, especially Bobby Robson. Using Robson’s image, particularly, to sell shit lager seems like the height of bad taste to me. Yes, as a Newcastle United fan, but also as a human being. The guy died less than a year ago. Jesus.

And then all hell breaks loose. Kasabian – a band I associate mainly with binge-drinking, Saturday night city-centre violence and shit gangster films – and eye-rolling ENGERLAND! bollocks and Botham twatting about in chainmail. And Aslan.

Promising start. Feeble, predictable, depressing end. Can you guess where I’m going with this?