Does Beer Have An Image Problem?

This article in Ad Age suggests that by volume, beer sales will be down almost 2% this year. And if like me, you’ve ever worked on a beverage client, you know that’s a seismic downward shift.

As of late, big beer brands — which used to be known for buzzworthy ads — are having a hard time breaking through on their own. Distributors interviewed at random at the conference seemed particularly frustrated about what they are seeing on the airwaves, with some complaining about image ads that seem to have nothing to do with the product and others saying joke-filled ads don’t seem to be resonating. “Maybe not enough beer commercials are talking about the relevance of the beer and what the beer is about and too many [are] about the joke,” said Frank Politano, VP-sales and marketing for Kohler Distributing Co. in New Jersey. “I think the consumer is looking more about, ‘What’s my experience? What is the beer about? Why am I drinking it?’ “

The article does note that craft beers are still selling quite well and are seeing sales growth. But the category overall is struggling, and the big boys want to keep their share.

There are no plans, at the moment, for an industry-wide campaign to promote more beer consumption. Perhaps the poster above doesn’t help the image much. But if you were to tackle a campaign ala “Got Milk?” for beer, how would you do it?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.