Hopping Mad Over Beer Commercials

Light Beer Marketing is Hard to Swallow!

I don’t drink much beer. That may come as a surprise to my fellow beer drinkers of almost 40 years ago. I admit to drinking my share of Iron City when I lived near Pittsburgh back in the 70’s. But, I got tired of the taste of domestic beer and light beer was the final straw for me.

I have never understood the entire light beer concept. The early marketing for the first light beer, Miller Lite, was based on a “Great Taste…Less Filling” theme which I always thought was an ingenious way to re-frame an opinion because most people I know who like the taste of beer would say that all light beer tastes less.

All this came pouring into my head this weekend when I asked my lovely wife Joann to pick up some beer for a friend who was coming over for a little party. We seldom have it in the house and I remembered at the last minute that’s all he drinks. He may even drink Miller Lite but friends don’t let friends drink light beer as far as I’m concerned so I suggested a seasonal brew from Anchor Steam which is one of the few brewers I like.

After discussing the fact that you can only buy beer by the case in Pennsylvania and that it has to come from a special beer distributor licensed by the state, I realized that Joann has never bought beer despite being of legal age for – ahh never mind.

The thought of musty PA alcohol laws only leaves me with a bitter taste.

That lead to me wondering how much beer is purchased by men versus women. I would guess men buy more but I don’t know anymore based on the commercials that Miller has been showing since around Super Bowl time. Their dominant theme is to call into question some guy’s masculinity, make him look like a moron and therefore not worthy to drink Miller Lite. I thought maybe it was some agency’s idea of appealing to women watching the Super Bowl but the ads have continued into the summer beer season.

The original marketing for Miller Lite using the “Great Taste…Less Filling” theme was one of the best ever created. Who can forget the commercials with Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Uecker, Bubba Smith, John Madden, and Ray Nitschke. Since then I can’t say Miller and their agencies have outdone themselves.

About eight years ago Miller brought back the theme only this time they went with a commercial with two beautiful, buxom women who get into a fist fight that moves to a swimming pool where they proceed to rip off each other clothes down to as skimpy a bra and panties as legally possible (at the time) and finally ends in a vat of concrete (mud). A censored version only shown on cable has an ending where one woman says “Let’s make out” as they proceed to lock lips.

It was a big hit with teenage boys who could not legally buy the beer. But, that wasn’t the point as the commercial had nothing to do with beer and everything to do with creating strong reactions even if they were negative.

Actually now having gotten to this point in this first draft of this post, I am beginning to see the genius of it all. I don’t know how I missed it but I’ll suck it up and quit complaining. It’s now clear. In fact, it’s clear as light beer.

By creating commercials that make people look like idiots, Miller really is appealing to the perfect light beer buyer.

Just in case you missed it. Check out this Bud Light Super Bowl commercial as compared to Miller’s Super Bowl skinny jeans. Now this is one that makes me howl.

4 thoughts on “Hopping Mad Over Beer Commercials”

  1. Light beer is an abomination (as is anything low-fat, low-carb or low-calorie that wasn’t “born” that way; so low fat apples good, low-fat cheese bad).

  2. Bob-
    I’ve never come across a light beer with “great taste”.

    For me, the worst is when the beer companies work on their packaging. Miller Lite has that Vortex thing, and Coors has the label where the mountains change color so that you know it’s cold.

    All I want to do is scream: “Stop spending money on stupid packaging and start making better beer!”

    1. Greg – are you saying that if a company makes a better product they’ll sell more? The mountains changing color reminded me of mood rings. I’m guessing whoever came up with the idea still has one they use.

      Thanks for joining us at the Water Cooler!

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