In a surprisingly highbrow stroke of illustrative humor (I wonder how many of the target audience actually knows how to pronounce quinoa), Bud Light has capitalized on a very interesting aspect of our psyche. The series of commercials that this particular ad belongs to celebrates superstition on the one hand, and pragmatism on the other.
As one of few remaining vestiges of superstition, spectator sports create a seemingly unbreakable link between spectator and team (or athlete). Humorously enough, the spectator actually thinks he or she has some impact in the outcome. These particular commercials depict the lengths to which some will go in order to “help” their teams win. Rubbing bald heads, relocating furniture, and the like. In this case, a jersey clad tailgater finds himself grilling quinoa. While initially hesitating due to the…shall we say, questionable taste of the savory morsel, he concludes in favor of eating the quinoa in light of the apparent effects said activity had on the football team on the previous occasion.
Despite the troubling premise of the Philadelphia Eagles actually winning a game, the ad shows the powerless gaining a sense of power, and thereby, reflecting on something within all of us: we want to have control, especially when it comes to things that matter to us. But despite the grand deception, the reality is that we control little if anything at all. The lesson here is that while we really can’t trust in our own abilities (even if only to make a football glide inside a goalpost), we can trust in the One who actually does have control over all things (Col 1:16-17). I find that encouraging.
The ad also offers occasion to consider another common trait of ours – the willingness to do whatever works, even if the means doesn’t seem to correspond directly with the end. We are outcomes based, and we often don’t care how the end is achieved. But do we really want to be that guy? The one who will eat grilled quinoa when he could have…well, anything else – and all because he is a slave to superstition and pragmatism? No thank you. No grilled quinoa for me. I would rather understand the relationships between my activities and their outcomes, and I am happy to give effort to what I should and leave the rest up to Him.
So…quinoa grilling dude, I feel sorry for you, brother. Not only is your team’s trophy case empty (I guess you haven’t been grilling quinoa long enough), but your stomach may as well be empty too. Have a burger. And while you’re at it, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight (Prov 3:5-6). Admittedly, He makes no such promises about that all-important field goal, but in His own way, He’s got that under control too.