Rocky Mountain Bullshit

5 10 2007

Coors and Bud have launched ad campaigns that are dual parts insulting and pitiful. The 20-to-30-second spots sing with silent self-doubt, with the fear of decline compensated for by steadfast bravado that is so common among large businesses (see: fall of United States steel companies). The Coors series goes something along the lines of “never change.” It’s an unwillingness to adapt advertised as “we won’t like you anymore if you start hanging out with x.” Like someone who’s afraid of losing your friendship, so he just keeps appealing to the good times you guys used to have, you know, getting drunk and stuff. And man, you remember those girls, right? Those twiiiins?

Bud has its “open up a world of taste” line, in which a voice tells you to think back to the best beer you’ve ever had, then “get ready to top it” with a tall, cool glass of Bud. The angle is pretty much the same as the one in Coors’ ads: You Like Our Beer. You Know You Do.

Problem for them is, fewer and fewer people are buying it.

Of the Big 3 American breweries, each has met the challenge presented by the massive movement toward craft/micro-brewing in a variety of ways, and with varying degrees of seriousness. All three have backed their subsidiary microbreweries with, again, varying degrees of intervention. Coors has dug deeply into Blue Moon, Bud has done the same with its craft brewing, like Stone Mill Pale Ale — although, to Bud’s credit, it has brewed some limited-edition, small-barrel craft ales under the Bud monker. Miller’s currently backing and distributing Leinenkugel’s, which it runs with an British-colony-esque influence: little intervention, just monetary support and profit-sharing.

But they all seem to understand that, for as many people as there are who refuse to drink anything but an adjunct-laden ‘Pilsener,’ a significant other faction would rather drink from their own catheters. All three companies tend to hide behind those craft beers, using different brewery names on the labels.

What that also means is that, if these companies are acknowledging that their beers are, in fact, shoddy, there’s a bit of a moral problem. That’s where those two embarrassing ad campaigns, to try to rein in some of those rogue drinkers. Unfortunately, Hulking Corporate is out, small is in (that sounded really lame and I apologize…although it’s true), and it all comes off a little bit like your dad trying to rap.

To be fair to Bud, it has sponsored the “Here’s to Beer” campaign, aimed at celebrating brewing and educating drinkers about how the magical process goes on. But these ads are primarily print-oriented, with an ad gracing the back cover of BeerAdvocate Magazine virtually every time. On TV, it’s still a playing-to-the-masses mentality, using humor to sell beers

But no beer ad that I have ever seen to this date in my life is more insulting to the American — the world’s — drinking intellect than the one I just saw, in which a voice that sounds like Sam Elliott’s (the cowboy-hat-wearing Stranger in The Big Lebowski) tells us that “we could frost-brew Coors somewhere else besides the Rocky Mountains. We could use other water…We just don’t.”

Yes they do.

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