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"Beer is back." (advertising campaign of Coors Extra Gold beer)

Coors has taken off the gloves with their its Extra Gold marketing campaign. For the several months or so, the company has televised on-screen taste comparisons and testimonials, comparing Coors Extra Gold with other leading brands. Consumers are shown touting the virtues of Extra Gold's deep golden color, and comparing it unfavorably with paler brews.

Coors has made Anheuser-Busch brands the primary target of this campaign. Although Budweiser retains its primacy as the country's number-one brand, it has suffered incremental slippage. Budweiser is also a good target for another reason--the use of rice adjuncts make it is a very pale beer, a clear contrast with Coors' deep golden hue.

In a publicity gambit related to the "Beer is Back" campaign, Coors recently sent out packages containing a compartmentalized clear plastic mug. Curious beer drinkers were instructed to fill one half of the mug with Coors Extra Gold, and the other with a competitive brew. The use of the segmented mug allows a side-by-side comparison of two beers, and differences in color are readily apparent.

Following instructions, we poured Coors Extra Gold and a competitive brew into the mug. The result was striking--there is no denying this is a very clever campaign.

For starters, Coors Extra Gold is a fine product. It may be the richest of the mainstream lagers--a firm-bodied beer with some fruity hop notes and a malty finish. The beer boasts a deep golden color, and this quality does have a certain aesthetic appeal. Indeed, to many consumers, this color might seem conclusive.

Unfortunately, the "Beer is Back" campaign is based on the conceit that beer color has a direct correlation to beer quality, which is not necessarily true. Not to knock Coors Extra Gold, which is an excellent beer, but the brewmaster's choice of malts and grains is a subjective one. Simply because one brewer might choose a slightly darker malt than another doesn't make one beer better than another.

This campaign might have one beneficial side-effect, however. If consumers begin using the color yardstick to judge the relative merits of beer, stout might finally find its place in the sun.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Feb 10, 1992
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