Ad Space – Miller Gets Passive Aggressive

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Miller Genuine Draft beer

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
You wanted us to launch a seltzer, fine, we’re launching a seltzer. Happy?

This is such an odd commercial. They had to hire an actor and several extras, build several different props and sets, get camera crews and lightning experts and all the other technicians needed for a commercial. They spent all that time, money, and effort … to tell us about a product they’re not offering.

I get what they’re going for. They’re appealing to beer drinkers who aren’t onboard with the increasing popularity of seltzer, and telling them, “Hey, we’re with you. Seltzer’s stupid. Not like Miller Genuine Draft; that’s a ‘real beer’s beer’.”

But I can’t help thinking there must be a ton of people out there who like both beer and seltzer, and who won’t respond positively to an ad where Miller mocks them for their preferences.

Maybe they did some intensive market research, maybe they weighed the negative reaction from seltzer stans against the positive reaction from beer snobs, and decided it amounted to a net gain. But I’m inclined to believe the real reason this ad got greenlit had nothing to do with selling beer.

I’d bet there’s folks at the Miller corporation who are constantly asked “When are you going to launch a seltzer? Seltzer’s big right now. Everyone’s launching a seltzer. You need to launch a seltzer. Why aren’t you launching a seltzer?” Naturally, if they have no plans to launch a seltzer, that’s gonna be hella irritating. So when someone pitches an ad giving vent to that frustration … it may or may not have the desired effect on consumers, but clearly, among the people approving ads at Miller, it scored big.