Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I'm often being told that words don't matter anymore.
We live by the video and we die by the video. Apparently.
This is strange, as it seems so easy to offend people with even the strayest, most innocent words these days.
I confess to occasionally finding the words used in advertising temporarily snort-inducing.
The other day, however, a few ad words assaulted my consciousness and rudely refused to leave.
They came courtesy of Coors Light.
The words came at the end of an ad that serves as a sponsorship wheel for ESPN's College Game Day.
The ad features two young men who have recently woken up.
They're getting ready to watch college football, as so many do across America.
One brings in breakfast. The other produces two cans of Coors Light from his, oh, dressing gown.
And then the magical message:
Coors Light. The Official Beer of Saturday Morning.
I wanted to believe this were some sort of ironic comment.
At its most basic level, here was a beer company encouraging young people to drink as soon as they get up.
Of course, I understand this coincides with more college football stadiums serving alcohol.
And of course I'll happily disclose that I'm a Wine Ambassador for the Honig Winery in Napa and my wife is an alcohol researcher.
Neither of us is anti-alcohol, I can assure you, though we prefer to stick to dinner time.
Moreover, I used to function in advertising--for more years than I'd have preferred--and worked on campaigns for all sorts of alcoholic beverages, including beer.
Yet if a creative team had brought me the idea of making a beer the official one of Saturday morning, I might have suggested they read up a little about alcoholism.
What sort of socially aware brand tries to get young people to drink alcohol with their breakfast, as a regular ritual?
What sort of nincompoopery does it take that no bright-eyed brand type seems to have stopped and thought:
Well, yeah. Maybe this morning drinking isn't such a good thing. I mean, like, that's not a good look, man.
Naturally, I asked Molson Coors for its perspective. Its spokesman told me:
Our new ads focus on moments throughout the day when people take a step back from their to-do lists, and instead choose to pause and recharge. Much of the time, these are also the moments when people naturally think to reach for a beer.
Do you naturally think to reach for a beer first thing in the morning?
I naturally think of staggering to the kitchen for a glass of water and then perhaps grabbing a coffee.
Yet Molson Coors seems to believe there's truly no better example it can set.
Its spokesman again:
While we always encourage moderate, responsible consumption no matter the time of day, there's truly no better example of one of these low-key moments than a Saturday football game, whether you're watching at home with friends or out at the stadium.
This seems touchingly twisted thinking. What might really be going on here?
On the company's blog, Molson Coors mused this was part of an effort "to reach more younger legal-age drinkers."
To reach them before they've even had a bowl of corn flakes or a bite of a Starbucks double-bacon sandwich?
To reach them when they're still dehydrated from the previous night's drinking and the whatever it is they can't remember doing?
To reach them while they're still at college and not exactly of drinking age? (No, no. No beer company would ever do that.)
The real message, then, seems to be:
We're having trouble getting young people to drink our beer. So we'll try to get to them wherever we can find them. Even if it's just after they get out of bed.
I can't help wondering whether this is an act of wizened desperation. Beer sales aren't doing so well, after all.
Oh, what am I saying? Of course I'm deluding myself. No one else will have an issue with this campaign.
I really shouldn't be worried about this crass depiction of morning boozing.
After all, in tiny letters at the end of the ad is the invocation:
Even when we advertise irresponsibly.