Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


Beer ad not at head of the glass

Ride boards equal freedom

Beer ad not at head of the glass

By Terry Warne
Gazette Staff

Every year the United Nations singles out Canada as one of the most desirable places in the world to live – yawn. My name is Joe, and I am Canadian – whee!

Does anyone else see a problem with this?

I'm talking, of course, about the ubiquitous Molson Canadian commercial known as "The Rant,"– the commercial which has gripped our nation and captured our collective identity.


Give Molson's marketers full credit, they've crafted a brilliant campaign by playing to our most basic emotions. It's the right mix of jingoism and xenophobia. What a perfect way to prey on an insecure nation.

I don't really have a problem with the advertisement though; it's just a beer commercial. The bottom line for Molson is how much beer they sell, not some sense of altruistic duty to validate the Canadian identity.

What disturbs me is the audience reaction to the commercial. I first viewed this ad in a movie theatre and as it drew to a conclusion, a curious thing happened – the people in attendance clapped and cheered.

There have been many times when I've gone to the theatre and been shown one of those "Heritage Moments" commissioned by our government. Each of these vignettes is well produced, highlighting a salient moment in Canadian history that we can be truly proud of. Yet, I've never heard anything remotely resembling approval after one of these spots. Maybe the government should feature John Labatt in their next one.

So, what does it say about Canadians when a beer commercial pointing out the differences between Canada and the United States draws more enthusiasm than items like the UN ranking, which stand on their own merit?

Once again, I draw your attention towards the Canadian insecurity complex. Ideally, we shouldn't give a shit about stereotypes perpetuated south of the border. Does it matter whether Americans respect the beaver? Are we honestly affected by the fact some Yanks don't realize we have a Prime Minister?

Unfortunately, in too many matters pertaining to the U.S., Canadians act like the children on the playground who are left in the merciless wake of the cool kids. Once America has deemed something acceptable, it's magically appropriate for Canada to find it acceptable also. What is distressing for Canadians is it's hard to quantify America's acceptance.

Americans have never come out and said, "Hey Canada, you're okay!" It's unlikely they ever will. As a result, we are left chortling over the fact Canadian beer has a higher percentage of alcohol than American beer – anything to confirm our worth as a nation.

Canada is an incredible country for many different reasons. It certainly does not require American validation – and I didn't need Joe to tell me that.

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