Beer companies should grow up

    You just knew it was going to happen. Two of the big guys are butting heads. Our hometown brewery, Miller Brewing Co., and its nemesis, Budweiser, just can’t seem to keep focused on selling product.

    They’re certainly dedicated to entertaining us, but now it looks like they’re getting into another one of those you-know-what matches.

    To bring you up to speed, Miller struck the first blow with its commercial showing Bud’s Dalmatian jumping ship … or at least the beer wagon … to hitch a ride on a Miller truck, ostensibly because Miller Lite is better tasting and has fewer carbs than Bud Light. Cute ad.

    In response, Bud is making a big, very public deal about the "negative" ads by making financial donations to animal rescue organizations. Nice idea.

    But at the same time, hidden behind the oh-so-secretive Anheuser-Busch board room doors, company execs were shown, time and time again so they could snicker fully I would imagine, the St. Louis brewer’s take on Miller’s ad. Basically, it’s the same ad, except the Budweiser dog takes a dump on a case of Miller Lite. Stupid.

    Bud officials assure us that their ad will never see the "lite" of day, which is a good thing. No matter what beer you might drink, offensive is offensive. And spending your shareholders’ money to produce a childish little insider joke is certainly offensive.

    Wouldn’t shareholders prefer that money be spent on an ad that actually sells their product?

    For that matter, Bud’s action begs the question: why did they wait until now to make donations to animal welfare organizations? I hope they have done so in the past … that it didn’t take a poke in the eye from their competitor to make them do something good.

    But let’s not let Miller off the hook, either. They just can’t seem to get it that cute and funny don’t sell. Relevancy sells, and here’s one consumer who fails to see the relevancy of many of their commercials.

    Small wonder that being Miller’s ad agency is a revolving door proposition. Just ask the "hottest agency" in the country, Crispin Porter & Bokusky.
    So, with a frothy Sprecher in hand, here’s a toast to good taste … and the hope that both Budweiser and Miller will soon figure out just exactly what that means!


    Steve Gardner is a public relations account executive at Johnson Direct LLC in Brookfield. Additional information is available at

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