Sunday, May 07, 2006
Corporate bored rooms of the swillocracy.
For most of the year, the Curmudgeon avoids television, but the NBA playoffs are an exception.
In practical terms, this means that most of the time, I can avoid the more egregious marketing excesses of America’s bloated megabrewers. Time spent at my own pub, and at Louisville-area brewpubs, is time spent away from the influence of Bud, Miller and Coors.
We know that although the biggest brewery players continue to dominate the market, their sales are stagnant. After two weeks of watching their television advertisements, it’s easy to see that they’re as bereft of new sales ideas as they are of barley, hops and balls.
Perhaps that’s the inevitable outcome of decades spent devaluing the essence of the product – beer – and exalting the mechanism – marketing. Smoke and mirrors go only so far, even when it comes to liquid urine.
Miller is preparing to tout its eternally insipid Lite with a campaign that exalts rules of living for men, and features a motley collection of hack celebrities swilling alcoholic soda pop straight from the bottle.
When not engaged in displays of overt cultural imperialism (simply google A-B and soccer’s World Cup to see what I mean), Anheuser-Busch persists with its time-honored “how stupid can we make our customers look ” strategy with blurbs showing Cedric the Entertainer practicing bigamy for the sake of Dud Light, and a human daredevil undertaking impossible stunts – but not the most daunting task of all: Finding merit in A-B’s bland swill.
Coors mines similar terrain with its patronizing beer can liner ads, and abets the offense with the company’s ongoing fixation with temperature as sole determining factor of beer quality – typified by the clueless “Love Train” block party freeze-out.
In fact, the megabrewers’s current television advertising spots are so abysmal that they make the ubiquitous fast food and automotive envy blurbs seem Shakespearean by comparison.
Not really. Anyone for real beer? Real food?