It’s hard, ain’t it hard

On the MillerCoors blog yesterday, “Henry’s Hard Soda unveils new television ads in time for summer hard soda spike” by Peter Frost:

(#1) Both ads can be viewed via the link

Henry’s Hard Soda this week is releasing two new television ads in an effort to jolt consumer awareness ahead of hard soda’s biggest selling season.

The new ads, which each end with the tagline “Good Hard Fun,” are part of a multimillion-dollar investment to grow the brand’s leadership position in hard sodas, says Josh Wexelbaum, marketing director for the brand.

The product-centric spots feature bottle shots of the brand’s three colorful flavors: Orange, Grape and the newly released Lemon Lime, and carry a lighthearted tone. “Henry’s is all about fun,” Wexelbaum says. “You’re going to see us embracing our bold colors, familiar soda flavors and connecting with that sense of personal nostalgia that makes this brand tick.”

Some relevant senses of hard from NOAD:

adj. hard: 1 solid, firm, and resistant to pressure; not easily broken, bent, or pierced … 5 [a] (of liquor) strongly alcoholic; denoting distilled spirits rather than beer or wine. [b] US (of apple cider) having alcoholic content from fermentation. [c] (of a drug) potent and addictive. [d] (of radiation) highly penetrating. [e] (of pornography) highly obscene and explicit.

Hard sodas are hard in contrast with (non-alcoholic) soft drinks, but they aren’t hard liquor; instead, they are comparable to hard ciders and lagers: Henry’s is 4.2% alcohol by volume, hard ciders 4.5-4.7%, lagers 4-5%.

But then the new Henry’s ads introduce a potential double entendre through the slogan good hard fun, in contrast to the cliché good clean fun — the contrast suggesting that Henry’s is dirty (‘risqué, salacious, sexual’) fun, which in turn evokes a sexually specialized subsense of NOAD’s sense 1. From OED3 (June 2005):

adj. hard:  i. Of the penis, clitoris, or nipples: erect. In later use also of a man: having an erect penis. Cf. … hard-on adj. and n. [1st cite: a1660  in G. R. Quaife Wanton Wenches & Wayward Wives (1979) vii. 166 (modernized text)  [He] did take forth his privy parts in his hand and..told her that it was a good hard thing.

And the title of this posting? It has still another sense of hard, ‘difficult’, in a Woody Guthrie song (sung from a woman’s viewpoint) that begins:

There is a house in this old town,
And that’s where my true love lays around.
And he takes other women right down on his knee
And he tells them a little tale he won’t tell me.

It’s a-hard and it’s hard, ain’t it hard
To love one that never did love you?
It’s a-hard, and it’s hard, ain’t it hard, great God,
To love one that never will be true?

(#2) You can listen to this 1944 Guthrie performance here

One Response to “It’s hard, ain’t it hard”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    And it’s a hard rain gonna fall.

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