Arts and Culture

Stupid ad of the week: Heineken's man fantasy

We all know fantasy is better than reality, because in reality you have to do stuff you don't want to do, and you have to face the fact that there will be some things you'll just never be good at, either for lack of time to learn or lack of natural ability.

But in fantasy land, you can have whatever you want and be whatever you want. Advertisers are wise to tap into this universal human desire and attach their product to it. Hence this week's stupid advert by Heineken, in which a man enters the most ideal, glamorous party ever conjured up by the human mind and proceeds to charm the pants off of just about everyone.

Men, take note: It's not enough to be handsome, moral and charming anymore. You must also be congenial with various foreign diplomats and be able to produce live animals out of thin air.

This impossibly awesome man does that and more, in his sleep. But he only sleeps three hours a night because he's too busy teaching kids in Africa how to read. Don't find that all that impressive? Well, whatever you think is the best thing ever, he's either done it or he's doing it.

He is familiar with the esoteric customs of numerous far-flung cultures. He plays the flute, for God's sake, which is one of the sexiest instruments ever created, for obvious reasons. His charisma has no bounds. His charm could warm the heart of Satan himself. Women find him irresistibly alluring, men find him to be the greatest and most loyal friend anyone could hope for. You can't hate on him when he performs a completely over-the-top and ostentatiously intimate gesture toward your girlfriend, because he's just too damn nice of a guy, and you know he has the integrity of solid gold. He chooses Heineken, even over a dry martini. Everyone loves him. Don't you want to be like him? You should drink Heineken.

Or: Maybe this guy annoys people with his incessant narcissism and overt pleas for attention. His weak ego requires him to be constantly noticed and validated by others' approval. With the ladies, he is a rake who seduces women until carnal knowledge is achieved and then quickly loses interest, unable to conduct himself in a meaningful intimate relationship. His jokes and antics were funny or impressive the first or second time around, but now they've grown old and ridiculous -- who gives a one-eyed man a glass eye? That's not cool. His desire for acceptance is pathetically obvious. Most of his friends only put up with him because he's the son of a wealthy banker with whom they do business. His makeshift facade of a personality, perfected over years to make people like him, keeps his true self safely distant from everyone, even himself. He drinks Heineken to numb the pain of not ever knowing what it feels like to be loved for who he really is. Don't you want to be like him? You should drink Heineken.