What happened to ‘Know When to Say When’?
I’m a sucker for commercials that feature dogs, like the one Subaru did a few years ago with a chocolate lab. Images of the loyal pet aging as the owner continues through life convey the message that Subaru is as reliable as man’s best friend.
I noticed Budweiser has a similar commercial, showing a yellow lab come of age. Watching man and his dog share fun moments in life, I’m all for these settings.
But the Bud commercial takes a different angle. The guy is shown leaving the house with friends, and the lab is left all alone. Patiently he waits for his owner to return, showing different shots of him looking out the window, lying on the floor, sounds of a brief whimper, hearing a car drive by.
The owner finally returns the next day. “Hey, I’m sorry. I decided I shouldn’t drive home last night.” The dog is overjoyed as he and owner are together again.
Did you get the message? Budweiser wants us to believe the dog owner is to be admired for deciding not to drive home last night because he got drunk and didn’t want to be driving under the influence.
Society today wants to give this guy a Medal of Honor, and Budweiser couldn’t be happier because now our hero can get totally wasted from drinking their beer. They make money off of him and look like humanitarians because they encouraged him not to drive after getting sauced from their product.
Would you believe it was more than 30 years ago when Anheuser-Busch came out with the slogan “Know When to Say When”? That statement made a totally different appeal than what the message is today. They tried to encourage moderate drinking, back in the day. Now, it’s “go ahead and get hammered, just don’t drive.”
I’m concerned because drunk driving should not be the only problem that needs to be addressed. Drunkenness entirely is a problem. A serious problem.
Please don’t misunderstand the argument I’m making here. This is totally separate from the “Should Christians Drink” lightening rod debate. I have my own views on that topic, but that is not what is being emphasized in this blog. If you respond with the typical “Jesus turned water into wine,” “Gluttony is also a problem. Why don’t you point that out too?” responses, you are missing my point.
However you view drinking alcohol, please know the Bible is clear about drunkenness. Passages such as Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:21; Prov. 20:1; I Cor. 6:10; Prov. 23:20-21 are just a few examples. There’s more than 30 I could list, so this is not a gray issue.
Take in consideration how excessive drinking has affected many marriages. A few years ago, I helped lead a Divorce Care class. There were seven who showed up that first night. Five of them shared alcoholism had a part in wrecking their marriage. This may be a small sample, but I’m sure it’s a solid reflection of society.
Another aspect where excessive drinking is a concern, think about how it could play a part in domestic violence. That’s the latest big topic, and we all are aware how much domestic violence is a problem. Do you think everybody who participates in such acts is sober?
As much as Budweiser wants us to stand up and applaud their dog commercial for encouraging the owner not to drive while intoxicated, this message falls short of the greater issue.
But more than I want to criticize Budweiser, I want to encourage you, my fellow Christian friend, please don’t fall victim to this misperception. Maybe we don’t agree about whether it’s right or wrong to drink alcohol, but drinking excessively has no leeway.
“Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world” (I Pet. 5:8-9).