I was sitting at a bar the other night (imagine that) and when the bartender asked "what'll ya have" I replied "Amstel Light, Please". (always be polite to your bartender - you want to make friends)
It wasn't a very exciting order.....no Pomegranate Martini or Hairy Navel or a Caribbean No-No (couldn't get the recipe out of my Rasta bartender bud) - but what made it interesting was - I am a long time Miller Lite drinker.
It was really only the last year that I switched to Amstel Light. I like the taste slightly better, but not enough to really justify the higher price. So what happened? I suspect that sneaky little devil called......marketing...might have had something to do with it.
This only surfaced into my conscious when I read that Miller Lite is pulling their "Man Law" campaign. To be honest, I found some of the Man Law stuff funny. So apparently did others. But alas the true test of a campaign's success is sales - and Miller Lite sales are down. (Bud Light and Coors Light sales are both up)
Lots of folks are spouting opinions - while I don't agree with all of it, I did find this post from Joe Sixpack interesting. He brings up a good point - men don't want to drink girlie beer. But do women want to drink manly beer? It's an important point because women are drinking and buying a large portion of the light beer market.
beer marketers are increasingly coming to grips with a stunning fact about their customers: Though 75 percent of their product is consumed by men, the vast majority is bought by women. Studies show as much as two-thirds of beer is purchased by women, mainly on their weekly trips for groceries.
The stats I've found have varied as to the exact percentage, but it appears to be growing.
So why my defection to Amstel Light? Did it have anything to do with the Man Law commercials?
I honestly don't know. The message the commercial sends out is - Miller Lite is a beer for macho guys - football heroes, wrestlers, etc. I certainly didn't see myself in the spots and certainly didn't picture myself drinking Miller Lite.
Their website confirmed my suspicions with a tacky beer babe on the home page.
Amstel Light, on the other hand - has taken a more female friendly position in its marketing, stressing "Live tastefully". While their website is bad in too many ways to go into, the imaging includes lots of women drinking the beer - women who look like me in places that look like places I like to go.
They talk about the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen - way cool. I'd like to read more about that.
Maybe I'm just a snob and like Amstel's more upscale branding. Could be - I'm not really sure. The good news for Amstel Light is - It's pretty much the only beer I drink. The bad news for Miller Lite is - while I think the Man Law campaign was funny - I doubt it did much to win over your female drinkers. It's not on my radar screen any more.
But take heart, even though sales are down, you'll probably win some fancy creative awards with your commercials.