The new Coors Ads: sleazy, not pure
Recently the, this observer complained to the Coors Brewing that its “Rock on,” and “Guys night out,” TV Ads are beneath the dignity of the Coors family. Someone in Consumer Communications emailed this reply:
“Our new advertising reflects the active lifestyle of 21-29 year olds. This is a social generation. We have attempted to capture this generation doing what they love to do, which includes having fun by spending time with friends, hitting the dance floor, grabbing pizza, and letting loose. And, this is a generation that stays up late. They grew up with slumber parties and all night school lock-ins where they stayed up and socialized with friends. Now that they have turned 21, they enjoy their freedom to stay up late and hang out with their friends.
This is also a generation that takes responsibility seriously. They know the difference between letting loose and irresponsible, drunken behavior. Young adults today are much more aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, and the importance of designated drivers or alternative transportation, as reflected in the significant decline in drunk driving crashes since the early 1980s.
Coors ads reflect both the freedom and responsibility of this generation. We do not portray or condone irresponsible drinking or drunk driving. We portray adults who are alert and aware.”
Translated, this means the good taste, which has hitherto been the hallmark of Coors advertising, has been abandoned in pursuit of relieving the 21-29 age demographic of its beer money. Golden, Colorado, the home of Coors, is just down the road from the Colorado University campus in Boulder. CU is consistently rated the number one party school in America. CU is deservedly infamous for irresponsible drunken behavior leading to destructive riots. The party scenes in Coors’ new Ads look like they were filmed at CU just before the police arrive.
The new advertising also ignores the older age demographic that saved Coors from extinction. In the 1970s, the brewing industry was consolidating. Local brewers, such as Coors, either had to go national or face extinction. So, the decision was made to go national by selling the beer-drinking public on Coors’ greatest asset: clear, clean, pure water from the Rocky Mountains.
At a time when the major brewers in St. Louis and Milwaukee were brewing beer amidst a growing national concern about pollution, Coors was positioned on the banks of Clear Creek. No matter that Coors did not actually draw its water from Clear Creek. Coors was doing something ever better. It was and still does get its water from deep, deep wells far below Golden where the water is as pure as can be.
When Coors launched its national advertising campaign, their Ads talked about beer brewed with pure, crystal-clean Rocky Mountain water. This struck a chord, not with 21-29 year-olds who think they are immortal, but with doctors, lawyers, bankers, real estate agents who had been around long enough to have a sense of mortality and who cared about the purity of what they drank.
We lived in Nebraska just before Coors went national. Whenever we left to ski in Colorado, our beer-drinking friends would beg us to bring back a case of Coors. People joked that the State Highway Patrol wouldn’t let you back into Nebraska unless you could show a case of Coors.
The national campaign to sell Coors as a product based on pure, clean, clear Rocky Mountain water was a huge success and Coors eventually become one of the nation’s largest brewers. Anheuser-Busch, on the banks of the polluted Mississippi, responded by opening a huge brewery near Ft. Collins, Colorado. Immediately, Budweiser began to advertise its “crisp, clean taste.”
Unfortunately, Coors appears to have forgotten the age group that helped Coors transition from local to national. Pandering to an age group just up the road in Boulder that is known for its “drunk and irresponsible behavior” must have Adolph, the Coors founder, rolling in his grave.
©2002. William Hamilton.