Monday, August 18, 2014

What In The Hell Has Happened To Beer Advertising?

Long gone are the days of the great "Tastes Great/Less Filling" Miller Lite TV commercials.

Long gone are the days of the very good Bud Light "Real Men of Genius/Real American Heroes" radio spots. (It didn't work as well on TV.)

And, long gone are the days of the fucking brilliant Errol Morris-directed "High Life" Miller TV ads. Watch three of them below. And watch 78 of them here.


So: Whadda we got now?

We got campaign after campaign inartfully, unsubtly, desperately sucking off Gen Y. If you are a Y, you should be guffawing derisively at your computer/TV screen at the sloppy blowjobs being performed on you by beer brands. But then, what do I know? Maybe your generation likes sloppy bad blowjobs.

Bad Blowjob #1: Heineken.
 Heineken continues to try to position itself as the official beer of "Adventure". The commercials, created by Wieden & Kennedy offices worldwide, are beautifully produced. Beautifully produced bullshit. The product is usually slipped in awkwardly, like with this 2:00 Dutch spot, the latest in their current "Man Of The World" campaign. Their "Man" is a dandy dancing whiskery hipster (sorry, but the word fits here) with perfect timing, cuteness, and charm. All of the hot women instantly cream over him. He is the Ultimate Millennial Hero. He is the most hateable brand mascot since Mr. Opportunity.

"Man Of The World". Image via.

You could call him the '2nd most interesting man in the world", since the campaign's 2012 start post-dates Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man In The World", and W&K obviously "borrowed" the idea to create this super man. It is the most flaccid soft sell from the beer category that I can recall. I purposely never order Heineken because of this pandering campaign.

Bad Blowjob #2: Miller High Life.
The copywriter, art director, and director on these new-ish #IamRich spots should all be fucking ashamed of themselves. Meet "Rich". That's his name, you see, because he's not rich. (Though if that's his NYC apartment, he's far from fucking middle class.) Rich is yet another Bearded Millennial Hero. The ads pour irony into a skillet mold, let it harden, and then cave in your head with it. Here's a 2nd spot—note all of Rich's male buds have facial hair. Actual maybe quote from Miller's marketing director: "I WANT THE COOLEST COLLECTION OF BEARDS EVER ASSEMBLED IN AN AD."

Just absolutely awful advertising. Agency: Leo Burnett.
NOTE: I will not stop drinking Miller High Life because it is my favorite cheap beer.

He's cool because he's black & white and slightly out of focus, and sits ironically on a throne.

Bad Blowjob #3: Miller Fortune.

I love Mark Strong, one of my favorite actors (see him in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). It's not his fault these spots are so bad, he didn't write this contrived hooey—take the money and run, good man.

My copy: "Get in there and get tossed out on your ass, tosser. I've another Miller Fortune waiting to ease your pain. And then you can try again, Sisyphus. Why will I still be here? I just like creepily standing outside of bars and providing strangers with running commentary on their loser lives."

My copy:" What are you doing? Did you see that rack? Guzzle this, turn around, and go back in there and FORCE YOURSELF on her. Then, five hours from now, come out, alone, and power-barf on the sidewalk. I'll still be here, with another Miller Fortune and a bottle of Scope."

(Miller Fortune deleted this spot from their YouTube page, probably because some criticized it for telling men to be "ungentlemanly".)

My copy: 'I know what you're thinking: 'I'm gonna miss this tap-in on purpose, and she'll suck me so good, the sheets'll get stuck in my ass.' Don't do that. Slam it home, loudly, and scream YEAH! in her face. Then, run the next table, and the next and the next and the...well just fucking destroy her, and then give me a call..."

Bad Blowjob #4: Corona Light.

Here Corona and their agency, Goodby Silverstein and Partners, smash older, married Millennials in the face with a Stupid bat. This copy feels like it was written by the account supervisor, or even the Corona marketing director's wife. Oh! That ending twist joke! My SIDES!

Bad Blowjob #5: Garagista (South Africa).

Ahh. the old "For those who..." strategy. How do you get "hip" people to drink your beer in 2014? By making fun of "hipsters"—at least according to the Garagista Brewery and their Capetown ad agency FoxP2.  But nobody is hipsters, everybody is hipsters, now. These people are just idiots, especially this chick. Don't you feel superior looking at these idiots? Shit, I'm getting such a confidence boost reading these ads, I think I'll dust off my chrome Slingerlands and start up a NYC post-post-post-punk band. Call ourselves the Mad Men. Dress like Draper, get sued by AMC. Get famous.

(click image to enlarge)
I'd actually like to to hear this gentlemen play his banjo. I bet he's pretty good. And come on: that font screams "drink me, hipster!".

(click image to enlarge)
I honestly cannot pick which one of these headlines is the worst. 
It's a dead heat at the Shit-Awful finish line.

Bad Blowjob #6: Miller Lite.

Lastly, there's the "Man Up" Miller Lite campaign from a couple of years ago. The blowjob target here: Bro-lennials. But not just any Bro-lennials, specifically the homophobic, unironic fist-bump-explosion, brain-dead Bro-lennials. This, seriously, may have been the dumbest alcohol campaign in the history of fermentation/distillation. 

There is, in fact, one very good beer campaign out there right now. It's the Newcastle "No Bollocks" effort. Excellent branding. Agency: Droga5, NYC. And no: Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man in the World" is not a great beer campaign. It's merely a decent campaign. Sorry.

I'm thinking, maybe? the problem here with these bad beer ads is that Millennials, the new "creative class", are the ones creating them. And, they—somehow—think they're good? Discuss.


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