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Monday, March 08, 2010

Meanwhile, in Macro World

We all have an inner Doc Wort--a curmudgeon who expresses himself perhaps inappropriately at the thought of yet another 247-IBU quad IPA. It's good to have a reality check every now and again. Have a look at what the macros are up to. While Bud is releasing a 55-calorie beer (aka water), Miller is promoting their latest product:
MillerCoors, the second largest beer company in the U.S., has launched a new iPhone application called Tip ‘n Spin in time for March Madness. Tip ‘n Spin, MillerCoors’ sixth iPhone app, is a great example of how a leading consumer packaged goods brand is embracing mobile technology to strengthen the emotional bond with the “sweet spot” of their target audience to drive deeper engagement with the brand. The application is integrated with Miller Lite’s March Madness marketing campaign that is rolling out nationwide.
(Bolds mine.) This is so meta and attenuated that it is effectively postmodern art. It is pure context; the attempt to comment on a product in the absence of that product. And the jargon! It makes you long for the solace of a real, wet, quad IPA, doesn't it?

Speaking of brand, I plan to do my next installment of brand dissections on MacTarnahans later this week. So far I've looked at two breweries with distinctive, consistent brand identities. I thought it would be cool to look at a company that has spent decades changing theirs.


  1. I have no love for MillerCoors, except that they may, may employ folks in decent paying jobs. However, I'm not so annoyed at their "brandspeak" as you. I say that only because it's my trade and I understand why they do it and they may actually do it successfully. They don't brew tasty or unique beer, mind you, but they probably do "drive engagement with the brand." Assuming your inset paragraph is a quote from them, it's interesting that they describe themselves as a "leading consumer packaged goods brand" rather than a brewery. At least they know they are not selling good beer, just good packaged goods or something.

    Looking forward to your MacTarnahans essay. I believe Portland Brewing was one of the most unnecessary failures in craft brew branding that we will see.

  2. Even Dr Wort has a hard time being Dr Wort! Some things in the beer biz make it easy, other times, it's a stretch. ;-}

  3. Mark, I guess the disconnect for me is that MillerCoors sent this document to me. I would understand brandspeak if they were outlining a strategy for how a particular campaign might move their customers. But to try to co-opt me, a a beer writer, by appealing with brandspeak, is bizarre. A film director doesn't give you the notes that describe how lighting and set direction and staging and editing work to create a feeling in a viewer: they show you their movie.

    I think MillerCoors has forgotten what they're selling. Beer, guys, show me the beer.

  4. Didn't know they sent it to you directly. As such, they have broken brandspeak rule #1: know thy audience. I'm sure your reaction might have been far more generous and kind had they sent you a half-rack of one of their "brands."

  5. Oh, should have said I don't think they really believe they are selling beer. They are selling "consumer packaged goods," whatever that means. Really, I don't think they believe they are selling beer and that is why that stuff they put into tin cans does not resemble what one expects from a brewery.

  6. Yeah, I should have mentioned that this came in a press release. Sorry!

  7. Jeff, you should pick this up before your next essay: