Why Must Cons Still Cater to the DudeBro?

Managing Editor

LeakyNews is at New York Comic Con this weekend and we’re having a blast.

This was the third year in a row I personally attended the East Coast’s largest celebration of everything nerd. Every year so far I’ve had a blast – going to panels, buying con exclusives until my wallet cries out in horror, and taking TONS of pictures.

In an attempt to give fans better access to high attention panels, NYCC introduced a secondary mainstage this year. Dubbed the Empire Stage, and sponsored by Arizona Iced Tea, I waited in line to attend two comic panels there: The Walking Dead 10 Year Anniversary and Marvel’s Avengers Universe.

Let me start by saying – the room itself was well organized. The lines moved, by 3PM panels were only running a couple minutes late, both the Marvel writers and Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard of TWD gave a ton of great info on their upcoming issues, and the sound and video quality were stellar.

What I took issue with was a two-minute commercial presented before The Walking Dead panel. A glorified Booth Babe for Arizona Iced Tea bounced onstage and explained that we were getting a “special video,” one which I naively assumed would be Walking Dead-related, and all while wearing Daisy Dukes and a tank sporting the phrase “I <3 Big Cans.”

We get it, Arizona. Your tea comes in big cans. Also big cans is slang for big breasts. We all get the joke.

I have no issue with Arizona, who was after all the sponsor of the stage, sending up their pretty model to flaunt her cans in their name.

The “special video” however…

We were treated to a two-minute PSA about how “big cans” were just awesome. Jenny sported low cut everything, exercised on an elliptical machine in heels, and even joined two of her big canned friends, to spread the love for… um… iced tea.

The shot that really got me, though, was the one in which Jenny attempted to drink a can of Arizona Tea. I say attempted because she did that terrible thing we’ve all done while extremely drunk and playing competitive drinking games, where you really aren’t drinking at all, but are in fact just opening the back of your throat and forcing the liquid down.

And pretty much 90% of the liquid flows out over your mouth.

Yeah. That got a nice slow-mo closeup.

I wonder what that was supposed to remind us of?

Oh wait. I don’t have to wonder. Because plenty of the classiest of attendees in the audience summed it up by yelling the classiest of epithets at the screens.

Luckily, I would say most of the audience reacted like I did, with groans and a lot of “WHAT”s and a fair amount of facepalms.

I just can’t understand what Arizona was thinking.

Are con attendees primarily male? Yes. But only barely. Regardless, the commercial we were shown had nothing to do with comics, or fandom, or the convention at all. Which is a shame. Because if Arizona had only partnered with Cheetos together they would have been the physical manifestation of my high school senior year lunch.

But instead Arizona made what I call a “DudeBro” video. A GoDaddy knockoff. A commercial signed sealed delivered to get a sexual reaction out of a straight male audience.

On what planet is Jenny, her big cans, and apparent lack of a gag reflex the best selling point for Arizona Iced Tea?

Guys… your product is 99 cents. 99. Cents. Is there really any other reason why it is the staple of the young, the gamer, and the fiscally irresponsible?

I would have appreciated the Big Cans joke on its own. I would have even been OK with Jenny the Booth Babe bouncing around on stage – it’s a Con and I’m used to it.

But that absurd commercial, and the screaming horny peanut gallery that ran along side it, I really could have done without.

And judging by the way Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, reacted to his free can of Arizona Iced Tea, I wasn’t alone.

So thanks Arizona for perpetuating the con stereotype – that we’re all nothing but poor lonely gamer nerds with a love for Big Cans.

99 cents or otherwise.

  • Nirali

    I didn’t go this year, but a couple years ago, and it was the same kind of thing. I’m kind of sick of it.