By Rob Kotaska
There are few things as “sports” as a great beer commercial. As a child I loved watching the Miller Lite “Taste’s Great, Less Filling” ad campaign. It was filled with former athletes, a few who I knew*, most who went over my head at the time. That works, it was a beer ad after all. I was six to eight years old in the campaign’s hey day.
From there the “Bud Bowl” emerged. It was silly, but of course I rooted for Bud Light. The Coors Light NFL coach ads had their moments, especially at Jim Mora and Dennis Green’s expense. I remain a devoted fan of the “Real Men of Genius” radio ad campaign that Bud Light had. It was brilliant, but faded as they tried to stretch it past its natural life. Such is the life of beer marketing. The last two are some of the few examples of great beer marketing. It seems for the most part the ad men go with some mix of “animal, hot chick or animal”, mix in some misogyny, and the masses love it.
I wash my hands of it. The humor is more often than not the worst of male stereotypes. Though I am not immune to all advertising.
Miller Lite gets me every time with the honesty of their campaigns. They know they have a marginal product. So they have gimmicky packaging. Vortex bottles? I was there, still am when cheap beer is the order of the day. Sure it pours better, why else would they put grooves in the neck?
Then the latest: “Punch Top™ Can”. I caught wind of this while watching either the NBA or NHL playoffs. It claims to make for a better pour. I am not sure, but the tinny aftertaste goes perfect with the watery suds that Miller Lite is known for. I am enjoying some now as I type this while watching the end of Game 2 of the NHL Finals. The official beer of the NHL is Coors Light, which is a crime against Canada. But that blue mountain crap does nothing for me. I know when my beer is cold. Besides, Coors Light is too watery for me, even when I am looking for a light beer.
When the call of cheap beer echoes it is the Vortex or “Punch Top™” for me, all courtesy of the real reason for all television, including sports: ads.
*Merlin Olsen was one, from “Little House of the Prairie”, of course. Say what you will, I had a huge crush on “half -pint”.