Miller Genuine Draft and the black hole of space advertising


p 1 miller genuine draft killed the brand space gimmick and it didnand8217t even need to go to space

This week Miller Genuine Draft aimed to be the newest model to launch a seltzer. Simply not the model extension product you should purchase at a retailer. No, Miller was going to launch a seltzer into space.

The model had spent the previous days hyping its stunt of launching a tough seltzer—beer’s newest stylish rival—as a gesture of hostility towards one more tasteless carbonated beverage in a can. Miller has seen the proliferation of laborious seltzer, like so many boozy bunny rabbits, more and more take shelf space and cultural actual property from the unique suds. Maybe the bulk of its disdain is saved for beer manufacturers which have jumped on the clear bevvie bandwagon corresponding to Michelob Extremely, Bud Mild, Corona, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

This was going to be the “beer’s beer” model’s personal little “Stratos” second. A stay broadcast throughout social media of an elaborately costly and finally pointless stunt.


“We brew beer, it’s what we do, it’s what we love,” says the spokesman. “However then so many different manufacturers began hopping on that bandwagon, then all of a sudden there got here this overwhelming expectation for us to do the identical.”

It wouldn’t need to look far for that expectation. Miller mother or father firm Molson Coors has been very happy to leap on the pattern, with laborious seltzers corresponding to Vizzy and Coors Seltzer. Sofia Colucci, VP of the Miller Household of Manufacturers, told AdAge, “This program is admittedly meant to bolster the position of one of our key model portfolios—the Miller Household—and that we’re a beer’s beer. The one seltzer launch we’re planning is that this launch into oblivion, so sure, Miller will stay devoted to beer and beer solely.”

When it lastly got here time to comply with by means of on this elaborate gimmick, although, the model blinked. There was no actual launch. The rocket exploded earlier than taking off. All fizz, no buzz. Seems, at 4 p.m. ET on Might 13, what Miller Genuine Draft really did was merely press play on what amounted to an eight-minute spoof of these business occasions, ostensibly doubling up on irony. It first spoofed manufacturers that launch issues into space with the prospect of launching any individual else’s product into space, then turned it into a reasonably commonplace—if excruciatingly lengthy—beer business.

We’ve come a good distance from the widespread sense of Miller Excessive Life Supply Man.

What entrepreneurs wish to imagine is that every new space-related stunt is their very own big leap for brand-kind, whereas in apply too typically it’s merely the closing frontier for an absence of some other first rate concepts. In the event you can’t suppose of something to say about your model, threaten to launch it into space. Folks simply can’t assist being eager about an organization paying thousands and thousands to take all the science, analysis, and know-how that has been harnessed to ensure that us, as a human race, to develop past our pale blue dot and into the nice past of the cosmos . . . and use it to promote us junk meals.

Humankind’s obsession with space is complicated. It’s not nearly science—it’s additionally religious. Are we alone? What’s our goal? What would a rooster sandwich seem like in orbit?


Miller Genuine Draft is toying with this concept, whereas additionally changing into a component of the brands-in-space industrial complicated itself. Rather more of this, and it received’t be lengthy earlier than the space gimmick is now not full of business surprise, if it hasn’t been utterly deflated past a short smirk of curiosity on social already.

In 1967, the world agreed that space shouldn’t be militarized. Time to increase that treaty to the Cola Wars, the beer-seltzer battle, and each different advert battle.