Beer Advertising That Mocks Broadcast Boundaries

The first time I saw the Heineken ad campaign featuring actor Neil Patrick Harris, I gave only a bemused grin.

You know the one: Harris extols the virtues of Heineken Light and its Best Tasting Low Calorie Lager award at the 2013 World Beer Championships, and openly mocks the fact that actually drinking alcohol on screen is a no-no.

“Apparently there are rules about drinking beer in commercials, so I’m drinking it over here,” he tells viewers. Then, off-camera, he says, “Ahh, tastes good.”

But think about it: We see lots of beer being poured (usually in slow motion), and we see lots of tan, hot people in snappy clothes holding beers and having fantastic times while doing so, but we never see them drink it. We even see tequila and vodka pours on screen, but no drinkers.