How Do You Market a Beverage That Looks Like Pee?
Beer. One of my favorite things on the planet. I love almost every aspect about this fine beverage. I love its history, the entire crafting process (I used to home brew), and - with some exceptions - its taste.
But taste doesn't advertise itself. And this is at once both a blessing and a curse. Some beers taste just like what they look like: piss. Okay, so not all beers look like foamy urine; stouts and some lambics come to mind. But in general a beverage of this color is difficult to market.
And, of course, you can't smell the product across the airwaves or in a magazine (unless "scratch-n'-sniff" is involved).
So, you can't taste it or smell it; and it looks like human waste. I call this the "Urine Factor."
How do you market such a product?
You create an image. It doesn't matter if the product tastes horrible. It just matters that it looks like it tastes great.
Of course approaches at "selling the sizzle over the steak" change over time. For example, take these Budweiser commercials:
Ed has some balls. I wouldn't let a cheetah hang out that close to my beer.
Note that beer is being pushed in a sort of upper-class Invader-Conqueror-of-Africa-Even-Though-It's-Really-Florida-So-It's-Still-Exotic sort of way.
The 21st Century's riff on Bud products are quite different:
I suppose that if Ed McMahon had that ability he wouldn't have had any worries about the cheetah...
Yep. When I think Miller High Life, the first thing that comes to mind is "Quality and good living." I don't even want to translate that phrase into the reality that is Palm Bay, Florida.
Fortunately Miller has changed with the times. This 2007 commercial ranks among one of the coolest ads I've ever seen.
The actual product is kept secret until the end. By then the ad has you hooked. And with good reason. From a production standpoint this commercial is nearly perfect.
The ad campaigns for Coors have changed radically of the past 30 years. Take a look at this 1978 commercial:
Clear. Pure. Beautiful. Delicious. That's what I get from that fine commercial.
Here's what Coors (Coors Light, actually) uses 30 years later to attract consumers:
Definitely beautiful and probably delicious. But clear and pure? Doubtful. One of them may be a virgin, but I wouldn't be able to point her out in a line-up.