Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Don't worry darling, you didn't burn the beer!"

This ad for Schlitz beer was first printed in 1952. It says in the fine print:

"Anyway, you didn't burn the Schlitz!" There's hope for any young bride who knows her man well enough to serve him Schlitz Beer. For what man (or woman) can resist the taste of Schlitz Beer...a taste millions prefer to the taste of any other beer. No, we're not just saying that. Here's the simple proof: Schlitz tastes so good to so many people, it's first in sales in the U.S.A.

Where to start? Well, before we do anything else let's examine the year this was advertised. The 50s was a decade well known for sexist remarks. First, take a look at this clip from an episode of Leave it to Beaver. The father says that a woman's place is in the kitchen. Next, the ending of the 1956 film Indestructible Man suggests that a woman should feel privileged to do nothing but serve her husband as a wife that keeps house. Ambitions of having a career for women are apparently not important at all.

Now let's attempt to analyze what we see in this particular ad. The wife appears to be distraught at her inability to prepare her husband a meal. The food is burned, implying that women in general cannot cook. She is crying into a handkerchief because women, as the ad infers, are weak and easily controlled by their emotions. We know this to be an unfair generalization, but the ad says otherwise. Although his cannot-do-anything-right wife has spoiled supper, the husband is still satisfied because she was able to provide him with something invulnerable to her lack of culinary expertise. "Anyway, you didn't burn the Schlitz!" This ad makes the implication that Schlitz beer is all it takes to make a man happy. And look! There are two beers on the table! How generous he is to share with his lowly wife. She should feel so privileged.

However, if you think sexist ads are a thing of the past, think again. Bud Lite recently televised an eerily similar ad insisting that good wives should provide their husbands with beer. A word of advice, be vigilant when exposed to advertisements. They will try to take advantage of you and belittle your dignity.


  1. Very interesting, it does show sexism since it is a 50's add. Seeing this add is more pointed out to the women of this time especially the ones who were not decent cooks. To me it seems something along the lines of 'Even if your the world worst cook, Schiltz will save the day (or something like that)' seeing as the husband isn't upset over the dinner and is trying to comfort the wife. Good job at examining the articles details, and interesting article.

  2. I agree! The time the advertisement does have a big impact on its message and intent. It is trying to show that any dinner is alright as long as you have Schilz beer with it. It also uses humor to appeal to the viewer and so that it will have a lasting impression on the viewer. The viewer is more likely to remember the advertisement because it was funny.

  3. A slightly different take: I think the ad implies that young/new wives often had trouble cooking--I believe this to be a commonplace issue back in the days when women, who did often assume the role of housewife back then, took their first stab at running a household. Schlitz is offering an answer! The beers were set out on the table by the wife as a treat for the young couple because she knows it is something they would both like. Do not despair; Schlitz knows how difficult life can be for the novice housewife, empathizes with her struggles, and provides a solution!

    It is kind of sexist though, the way the smug dude consoles her. But I would be upset if I ruined a dinner too, and the person I was cooking for would surely try to console me!