Coors Light references beer’s role in historical events like the Great Depression and the Revolutionary War in a new ad that positions the brew as something to help cope with the coronavirus.
The ad from DDB Chicago is voiced by actor Paul Giamatti. It kicks off a new program called “#CouldUseABeer” in which people can ask the brand on social media to cover the cost of a six-pack for someone they know. “If history has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes we could all just use a beer,” Giamatti says in the spot, which will get airplay on TV and digital.
The ad was inspired by 93-year old Olive Veronesi, a Pittsburgh-area resident who drew national headlines earlier this month after a photo of her went viral that showed her staring out her window holding dry-erase board reading “I need more beer!” while clutching a Coors Light. Coors Light responded by sending her 150 cans of the beer.
“We saw that there was a genuine opportunity for us to do something authentic to the role that beer is playing in people’s lives right now—in a way that would hopefully make people smile,” Molson Coors Chief Marketing Officer Michelle St. Jacques said in a statement about the new ad.
Veronesi’s viral photo—which was reportedly taken by a relative—appears at the end of the spot. The ad begins with a reference to the Revolutionary War, noting that George Washington kept his troops motivated with beer. (Washington ensured that soldiers in the Continental army got one quart of beer or cider per day, according to the National Constitution Center.) The spot then transitions to the Great Depression, alluding to how it helped spur the end of Prohibition. Then the ad flashes forward to the ongoing pandemic, which Giamatti refers to as “sucky, suck-suck suckiness of historical proportions.” He continues: “We know this won’t fix it, but how 'bout some beer?”
The spot asks people to tag friends on Twitter who deserve a six-pack while also using @CoorsLight and “#coulduseabeer.” According to the rules, recipients must apply to be reimbursed via PayPal by submitting an image of their sales receipt at a special website.
The ad’s message of beer providing a simple pleasure in tough times is hardly a revelation: While many bars remain shut down, beer sales at grocery and other outlets have been surging for weeks. Sales continued to grow at a double-digit pace in the week ending April 18, according to Nielsen data cited this week by beer trade publication Beer Marketer’s Insights.
Coors Light is positioning “#CouldUseABeer” as part of its larger “Made to Chill’ campaign that launched last year and puts the beer at the center of activities portrayed as escaping the stress of the hyper-connected, always-on world, like drinking a Coors Light in the shower.
“The reality is the campaign has never been more relevant than it is right now. People need a moment now more than ever,” St. Jacques said in the statement. The new ad follows other pandemic-influenced marketing moves, like Coors Light using its social media accounts to plug a new line of branded “soft clothes” which are meant to be worn while working at home—a situation countless people are in.
With the new ad, DDB tried to stand apart from the countless campaigns now running, featuring somber music and montages, a trend that comes as brands face hurdles making new work with ad shoots shut down.
“It’s time to move on from the slide shows of still photos and sad pianos,” Britt Nolan, chief creative officer for DDB North America, said in a statement to Ad Age. He acknowledged that “we’re still in a really tough production environment.” The agency still had to rely on historical art, stock photography and footage from Coors’ archive. But it sought to give it life by using animation and visual effects. Post-production was handled by Elastic.
“It was a uniquely challenging production,” Nolan said. “We wanted to get this idea into the world as fast as humanly possible. So we were doing everything at the same time, from as many different locations as there were people. And of course, we were constantly tweaking the story and revising the script, because that’s what we do.”