The other day I turned on a Chicago Bulls preseason NBA game on television. During the broadcast Coors Brewing Company aired two separate ads for Coors Light beer.
In the first ad, Coors Light is described as “The Official Beer of Saturday Mornings” as two roommates close the curtains on their apartment so the neighbors can’t see them drinking first thing in the morning.
In the second ad, Coors Light is described as “The Official Beer of the Shower” as a man who can’t control his drinking takes his beer into the show with him, so he doesn’t have to stop imbibing.
I’m an alcoholic. I had to hit bottom in order to wise up and get sober. Drinking in the morning and drinking in the shower were two of the things that I did during the darkest days of my alcoholism on my downward spiral towards hitting bottom.
In the case of these new Coors ads, celebrating traits of alcoholism like drinking in the morning and drinking in the shower seems to suggest a concerted effort to market Coors Light specifically at alcoholics.
It’s very much as if Coors Brewing Company is proclaiming Coors Light as “The Official Beer of Alcoholics”. I don’t find that funny. I find it sad.
I’m also the former head of marketing for a multimillion dollar nationally famous company. While targeting advertising specifically at alcoholics may seem morally repugnant, from a marketing standpoint it’s actually rather smart.
Alcoholics who haven’t gotten sober are a captive audience for alcohol marketing. They drink every day, often all day – from morning to shower to afternoon to night to doing it all again the next day.
Coors has recognized that those consumer dollars of active alcoholics are a goldmine.
By proclaiming Coors Light as the “Official Beer” of basic attributes of many alcoholics, the brewing company is essentially normalizing the over-the-top drinking traits of alcoholics.
“So you drink in the shower – so what? As long as it’s Coors Light, you’re in good company.”
“You like drinking in the morning? Just close the shades and make sure you have a Coors Light in your hand.”
Remember, cigarette companies used to target children with their ads so they could turn them into life-long customers.
Is marketing alcohol specifically at alcoholics by normalizing red flag behaviors a strategy that crosses the lines of decency?
Just because from a capitalist standpoint marketing to alcoholics may be a fiscally smart move, “smart” isn’t always “right.”
Not all drinkers are alcoholics. The majority of people can handle their alcohol. But those “normal” people aren’t the ones Coors is targeting.
So, what’s next for Coors?
Will there be a Coors Light commercial for “The Official Beer of Drinking and Driving”?
Will there be a commercial for “The Official Beer of Drinking at Work”?
What about “The Official Beer of Puking up Blood”?
Titles can be impressive. Being “The Official Beer of Alcoholics” isn’t one of them.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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