The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Shiny Objects

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It seems some days that everything that happens in the classroom is a distraction, all the way down to any shiny objects that students see in or around the room. When we commiserate about this in the office, somebody invariably points at something and calls out with faux enthusiasm, “Shiny object! Shiny object!” I couldn’t help but think of this phenomenon yesterday when I was driving on the expressway and a Miller Lite commercial came on the radio.

It seems that Miller’s latest marketing ploy is some kind of can or bottle liner that is supposed to “protect” the beer from making direct contact with the can or bottle, thus keeping the beer from tasting like a can or bottle. Because you know how annoying it is when you drink a finely balanced beer like Miller Lite and the taste of aluminum saturates your palate. Whatever the ploy is, it seems to be an extension of the can liners touted by Coors and Miller a few years back. But now Coors has two distinct edges on Miller (and Bud Light, for that matter). They have the vented can (because you know how annoying it is when you can’t drink Coors Light fast enough because of a poorly ventilated can); they also have the temperature-sensitive can that changes color, thus indicating the beer is at a suitable temperature to drink. Because you know how important the exact temperature is when you are drinking a delicately nuanced beer like Coors Light (I’m told Dom Perignon is much the same way– it, too, must be served at an exact temperature to be fully appreciated).

I couldn’t help but think what a sad state of affairs the general beer-drinking public must be in if these asinine marketing ploys work. And they must work… the beer companies keep coming up with them. The ploys amount to nothing more than shiny objects tossed out to distract Joe Sixpack into buying more, more, more light beer. I guess this doesn’t surprise me, given most of the target market for Miller and Coors (and Anheuser-Busch, I guess).

I don’t drink any of the three major brands, unless I’m caught unaware at a bar or restaurant, at which time I usually default to plain old Budweiser. I find all three beers, and all sub-varieties therein, to be uninspired versions one another. In fact, I talked to a man from England one time who probably said it best. We were sitting in a bar at Chicago Midway Airport when the bartender offered what he thought was an outstanding special on Miller Lite. The English gentleman turned up his nose and declared, “I never touch the stuff. It’s something more suited for piss artists.” When I asked him what he meant, he explained that where he’s from, the only people who drink Miller Lite are those who make an artform out of getting drunk. When he asked for my recommendation, I offered Goose Island Honker’s Ale. We each ordered one, and he enjoyed it so much he bought the next round.

To me, this gets back to the prevailing ignorance of the general beer-drinking public. Too often people buy into the stupid vented can liner ploys (or worse, the “lime” beer craze) and continue to buy bland beers that are best suited to be drank as quickly as possible if only to get ripping pissed as quickly as possible. But if these gimmicks were so effective at delivering a better, more enjoyable product, why aren’t the other beer companies trying them? Why doesn’t the Summit Brewing Company try to brew an “ice” beer? Why doesn’t Sierra Nevada market a vented can? Why doesn’t Great Lakes Brewery have special labels that indicate when their Burning River Pale Ale has reached its ideal temperature?

But then again, maybe I don’t know much about beer, or how important it is to have a gimmick attached to your drink of choice.

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Written by seeker70

May 25, 2009 at 4:14 am

Posted in beer, marketing

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