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Rating: 3 stars FCB CHANNELS COORS LIGHT INTO A UNIQUE APPROACH

Published on .

The bad news is that Bill Paley and Ed Murrow are turning in their graves. The good news is that the special coffin rotisserie just like the one used by famous dead CBS icons is available for $299. Compare with the regular retail price of $499!

Phone 1-800-SCHLOCK and ask for item K522.

Yeah, CBS is seeking to acquire QVC, with the shopping network's chairman running the merged company. Earlier "Dateline NBC" forged an editorial bond with Court TV. At any minute ABC is apt to throw in with the Weather Channel. (Nothing much would change although "20/20" would be renamed "-7/-7 Celsius.")

And that's not the end of it. Lost in all the uproar about whether Dan and Connie will be peddling jewelry midbroadcast is the advent of yet another peculiar broadcast entity: the Coors Light Channel.

The new entry from Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, is a commercial-and it's also a network, sort of, cramming eight itsy-bitsy little beer-theme programs into 60 seconds. They aren't particularly good or particularly funny little programs, but in the aggregate they certainly represent limitless opportunity for Coors Brewing Co. to forge a bond of its own with the Attention Deficit Disorder generation.

"You're watching the Coors Light Channel where there's always somethin' goin' on," says a female voice-over to begin the spot.

"Up next," says a male voice-over, "`The Sideways Show."' Then we see a man walk into a room carrying a bottle of beer and a glass. The frame abruptly shifts 90 degrees, so that the man and the room all appear sideways. Then the man pours the beer, and the beer pours sideways-as it should, because only the camera is tilted. But whether the viewer is puzzled or amused at the Art Metrano-like ridiculousness of the camera trick, the bit is wry and eyecatching.

Subsequent blackouts are less so. One shows a volleyball resting on a beach next to a coffee cup. Somebody removes the cup and replaces it with a can of beer, and the announcer chimes in, "Coors Light, 'cause coffee's nasty after volleyball."

If such gags are only moderately amusing, it hardly matters.

What matters is you can't take your eyes off of them, and with future installments, Coors Light TV will rapidly establish an utterly distinctive brand signature-a big improvement over busty babes on a beach.

Like "Saturday Night Live," this campaign can succeed even if only half of the vignettes are clever. Meantime, each 60-second array of "programs" provides more than the usual opportunity to mention genuine brand benefits or points of distinction-provided Coors and FCB have the presence of mind to do so.

One wonders, because the most remarkable aspect of the first commercial is its failure to mention Coors Light's single established element of uniqueness: the nickname Silver Bullet.

But this is merely the first entry in TV-spot-as-TV-network. As Barry Diller has long been saying, the possibilites are endless for those with the imagination to merge programming and technology, no matter how outlandish the result may seem. So fear not the Connie Chung Gold-colored Bracelet Collection. Just be grateful Larry Tisch went for QVC. It could've been Spectravision After Hours.

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