Friday, April 30, 2010

Lance Armstrong...and beer?!

This is the very last page of my current Women's Health magazine. It's an advertisement for Michelob Ultra that features cycling champ Lance Armstrong. I've seen this ad before, even on the side of a bus stop in Chicago. And I'm sure you've seen it somewhere, too.

In addition, Michelob Ultra is running this television spot:

According to a press release I found on VeloNews, Lance is "the perfect athlete to connect with adult beer drinkers who lead active lifestyles." I get it. He defeated cancer and won the Tour de France seven times—the man's a machine. (He also dated some really cool women. Sheryl Crow, Tory Burch, Kate Hudson. So maybe that makes him even cooler. I don't know.)

From the same press release, I quote Lance's own words: "I'm always making decisions that complement my active lifestyle, and this includes my beer choice when I want to enjoy a cold one with friends or when taking a break from training." And I respect what he says. It's responsible, and it doesn't necessarily indicate that he parties hardy. Or does it? Does his statement leave room for individual interpretation?

That's where I get to the point of this post: Is it responsible for a healthy, high-profile athlete to promote an alcoholic beverage? (I could also go on to ask whether or not it is responsible for Women's Health to run a beer ad, but we'll tackle one issue at a time.)

On one hand, I think Michelob Ultra and Lance Armstrong are handling the message correctly. Healthy guy drinks light beer responsibly. But that's just me and I can't help but wonder if other people will draw more of a Lance-is-healthy-so-it-must-be-healthy message out of the campaign. See the difference? So I'm torn between accepting it and feeling bothered by it all.

What's your take?


Tammy said...

That is a tough one. Though he is "real" and that's what I like, I don't think he needs to make money promoting it as an option for a healthy lifestyle. And I love Lance! But this goes hand in hand with Olympic athletes, too, saying their snack of choice is a snickers bar. Remember those campaigns? To that I say "Really? During a break between gold medal rounds you have candy?"

Anonymous said...

I just keep hoping that 100% of profits are going toward the Livestrong Foundation. Then I'd be all fine with it. I think.

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