Big Alcohol Exposed: MillerCoors Cancels Two Ads

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic Big Alcohol company MillerCoors has had to cancel two of their ad campaigns. The ads exposed Coors’ unethical mareketing strategies – through the lense of the current global health crisis.

The first ad to be cancelled was called the “Official Beer of ‘Working’ Remotely”. Now the company has recalled the ad as it was criticized as inappropriate during this period where employees are asked to stay home due to physical distancing and some people are without jobs due to the pandemic.

The ad encourages consuming alcohol during working hours. When workplaces are already burdened by alcohol harm, its unethical for the beer company to be encouraging even more consumption. The ad plays off the notion that many people blow off work to watch Basketball games.

But health officials have raised serious concerns over the effects of home quarantine during the pandemic and how it affects mental health, including the risk that it might spurn alcohol use disorder. Without social control and in the stressful situation of staying at home, more people might turn to alcohol.

Heineken has attempted to capitalize on this situation with a similar trope in their new ads campaign.

När människor uppmanas jobba hemma, va i karantän och allmänt vidta åtgärder för att minska smittspridning i samhället. Ja då väljer Heineken att hylla att det blir färre kafferaster så du kan dricka mer öl hemma. Svin.Tack Elin för att du uppmärksammade detta!

Posted by Samuel Somo on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The ad had not run on TV and distributors have been asked to stop putting out Coors Light “Working Remotely” coasters and banners at bars and restaurants as well.

The MillerCoors campaign “the official beer of…” has raised eyebrows and concerns about the promoted normalization of alcohol use in all kinds of daily circumstances. This isn’t the first ad of its kind, but part of a series of ads normalizing alcohol with everyday notions such as

  • the “Official Beer of Saturday Morning”  – which ran during college football season last year and associates alcohol with sports and promotes early morning alcohol consumption; Coors Light has inked a deal as the first-ever beer sponsor for ESPN’s “College Gameday” college football pregame show, according to AdAge. The deal, which includes in-show branding, comes as beer brands continue to break through barriers related to marketing in and around college campuses, including selling beer in stadiums.
  • the “Official Beer of Going Golfing” – associating beer with social success and golf performance enhancement;
  • the “Official Beer of Skipping Cuffing Season” – associating beer with the replacement for social contact; or this troubling commercial:
  • the “Official Beer of Being Done Wearing a Bra” – promoting alcohol as an after-work relaxation coping mechanism and attempting to connect to the reality of women.

The second ad to be cancelled was a Miller Lite commercial encouraging friends to get together for a beer. The ad campaign was removed because it apparently contradicted advice from authorities not to gather in groups.

The cancelled ads by no way means a scale down of advertising for Coors Lite who still plan to have a strong media spend in March amounting to more than double from February and 20% higher than 2019.

There is growing base of evidence that suggests alcohol marketing exposure is fueling alcohol harm, especially among children, adolescents and young adults and other vulnerable groups.

Alcohol Marketing and Adolescent and Young Adult Alcohol Use Behaviors

Sources: 

Ad Age: “COORS LIGHT STOPS ‘OFFICIAL BEER OF WORKING REMOTELY’ AD AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

The Motely Fool: “Molson Coors Pulls Another Ad During Pandemic