With his 644 goals, Argentinian footballer Leonel Messi recently surpassed Pele as the world's leading scorer for a single football club. Each and every goal is an equal step towards god-like status, even amongst his on-field competitors.
And with each of the 644 goals, there has to be at least one person at fault for letting it in. Given that this is normally the goalkeeper, what better way to celebrate Messi's incredible record than by reminding each keeper's fault with a single reminiscent reminder of greatness... or 17, in Real Madrid rival Iker Casillas's case.
With each beer representing a single goal in Messi's career, each moment is unique. For the keeper, these drinks are unique trophies in disguise, acting as a means of self-expression.
This concept works so well because it's not clear to those affected what emotion it should evoke. What is at once considered a fault or error, of which one would ought not be reminded, is reframed as being part of something special. A refreshing, humorous opportunity to see the bigger picture, let go of our past losses and celebrate greater gains.
Any cognitive dissonance in the receiving keeper is further compounded by the sending of a celebratory drink. "Let's raise a respectful toast, you and I, for being part of something historic".
This point is underlined by one of his victims, English keeper Joe Hart, who recognised this internal conflict himself:
"Seems strange to be ‘proud’ to have conceded goals but at the end of the day we are dealing with greatness ... congratulations and it’s just a privilege for me to be a part of history and a achievement that will never be matched 🐐”.
In elevating a simple bottle of beer to a means of remote, meaningful celebration of one of football's greats, Budweiser also elevate the status of all those who have played a part in Messi's greatness, whether directly, or as a consequence of his actions.
At a time where we are constantly reminded of our need to stay distant from one another, there are those who will find new ways to bring us together in creative ways.
This is one of them.
And whether you drink or not, that is something that we can all celebrate, wherever we are.
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