23 Nov 2009 @ 3:36 PM 

“With great beer, comes great responsibility.”

So says Uncle Ben on his death sidewalk to MillerCoors, the secret identity of Spiderbrau before he whisks off into the night, swinging from hop bine to hop bine to avenge the death of his only father figure, now dead…. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And thus I have labeled myself as a comic book geek, as well.

Recently, MillerCoors launched a new website: http://www.greatbeergreatresponsibility.com and it is glorious. I don’t want to badmouth this for its focus on ecology and good environmental responsibility, and I’m glad they’re going through this contrived marketing exercise to let us know that they’re doing their part.

I want to badmouth it for so many other reasons.

For one thing, nobody should ever make anything that autoplays noise – especially talking – when you first go to a website. Let me walk you through my first experience with this website:

Erik clicks on a link from a news article announcing this website.

Swarthy and Attractive Multicultural Man pops up on the screen.

“Hi!” says Swarthy and Attractive Multicultural Man with a little wave.

Erik closes browser quickly. Erik’s cube-mate looks over at him.

“What was that?” asks Erik’s cube mate.

“Uhh.. nothing.” he replies slyly.

Erik mutes his computer, re-opens website. Fake Redhead pops up on the screen and starts talking animatedly with her hands clenched tightly together with some message that I will never hear.

And thus, your welcome script has been lost. Well-done MillerCoors.

Okay, so aside from irking me by trying to be over-awesome with their technology and co-opting a phrase from a movie made about my favorite childhood superhero, the thing that amuses me about the site is that it seems so hellbent on getting people to pledge to do stuff with them but… who’s going to use this site? Why would you? What do you get in return – self-satisfaction? I suppose that’s what the internet is all about.

Here are my favorite three parts of the website:

Alcohol Responsibility

Here, we see a graphic narrated by Attractive Latina of how many MillerCoors customers have pledged to never drive drunk.
111!

111. Now, even if this number was 1, and that was really one more person who really was never going to drive drunk again, that’d be awesome, but I’m not convinced that clicking a link on a website saying that you’re not going to do it means that you’re really not going to do it. Part of me thinks that you want to give people some sort of incentive for not making this pledge, but then people would just pledge to get whatever you’re incentivizing them with, but it would at least give you a more impressive looking number than 111.

And y’know? Sit back for a moment and think about how many people work for MillerCoors worldwide. Don’t you think that they could have passed something around even one of their offices saying, “Please go pledge to not drive drunk, or you’re fired.” to pop that number up a little bit for release?

Environmental Sustainability

On this slide, Fake Redhead shows us how much water MillerCoors is saving compared to the rest of us. Please note, the number of gallons of water MillerCoors has saved so far YTD is not the actual number. It is an estimate based on projection of water savings from 2009 – 2015. So, essentially, they made it up.
2797
And the rest of us lousy bastards have pledged to save only 2797 gallons of water, by doing one of 5 things that you can promise them that you’ll do:

– Take shorter showers
– Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth
– Don’t let the water run while you do the dishes
– Don’t let the water run while you wash your car
– Only do full loads of laundry

While they don’t explicitly say this, I’m pretty sure that if you pledge to do one of these things and do not fulfill your promise, you are no longer allowed to purchase MillerCoors products.

Really the thing that amuses me about this is the enormous juxtaposition between two-thousand gallons and fourteen-million. See my previous argument about passing this around the office.

Here’s something that you can do to save an enormous amount of energy and do very good for the environment: Drink local beer, not beer that was shipped halfway across the country or halfway across the world before it got on your grocer’s shelf.

What Will You Do?

This is my favorite part of the WHOLE website. This little scrolly bar shows all of the things that people have pledged to do in order to make a difference. You can click on it and make your own pledge.
These people are JUST LIKE YOU.
There are currently 20 in total. So that you don’t have to go to the website and watch them scroll yourself, here they are:

Water my lawn less. – Pam, LA
Use less plastic. – Peggy, LA
Turn the lights off when I leave the room. – Allie, IL
I will never drive drunk. – Bryan, IL
Wash my clothes in cold water instead of hot. – Katie, CO
Practice energy consevation programs,learned at work,in our homes. -Joel G., CA
Get a designated driver each and every time I go out. – Josh, IL
Use a rain barrel to collect water for plants. AnnMarie, CA
Visit talkingalcohol.com to know more about alcohol and health. – Amit, AL
Don’t let the water run when brushing my teeth. – Kim, WI
Don’t leave the water running when brushing teeth and washing dishes. – Lisa, CO
Purchase wind energy from the local utility to power my house. – Lisa, WI
Turn off the water when I brush my teeth. – Beth, WI
Turn off the lights when I leave a room. No exceptions. – Jim, CO
Encourage recycling in my office – paper, cans, boxes – anything possible! – Deb, IL
Take shorter showers. – Sandra, WI
Talked to my daughter about alcohol and what to do if it shows up at high school parties. – Diane, WI
Volunteer my time in my community on a regular basis. – Ryan, WI
Take a shorter shower and encourage my friends to do the same. – Brennan, WI
Start talking to my kids about drinking early so they make responsible choices. – Alicia, ME

I don’t know about you, but my first impression is that these are not real people. Nevermind that most of these statements look like they’re cut and pasted from the rest of the site. Nevermind that most of them are from the same 3 states. Nevermind that Amit from Alabama actually plugged another MillerCoors site. Real people are going to be putting things in like,

I will drink beer insted of watur LOLOL!!11

What I’d really like to see is a mass write in campaign on this site with all of the comments saying something like:

I will save fossil fuels by drinking locally-made craft beer.

(Go ahead, Go make your pledge now.)

So, I’m having a lot of fun with this, but I feel like this is a website that strictly exists as a PR campaign, or some way for MillerCoors to say: No! We care about the environment and we encourage people to drink responsibly… LOOK! We have a website! We’re excellent corporate citizens! (investors applaud)

And if that’s what it takes to keep the neo-Prohibitionists at bay, then so be it. That is a cause I can get behind.

On the other hand, if this is a dead serious campaign to get MillerCoors customers to be more responsible and environmentally friendly, I’d like to point out that it’s already been psychographically proven that craft beer drinkers “are 153% more likely to always buy organic” and I think that suggests that they’re probably overall pretty environmentally friendly. If that’s the case, we’ve already won, Spiderbrau or no.

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Categories: industry, marketing, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 23 Nov 2009 @ 03 54 PM

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