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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

WHO ARE THE AD WIZARDS WHO CAME UP WITH THIS ONE?

or Y'ALL MUST BE CRAZY!

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Both phrases apply equally well to the PR disaster that is the friendly fire incident at Wrigley Field.

First line first... Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live. Jerry Seinfeld was the host. They ran a sketch called "Stand-up and Win." It was a game-show for comedians, where Seinfeld gave the "answer" and the comedian had to come up with the joke.

Sandler's joke, every time, was "Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?"

It was one of my favorite sketches of all time, and is the perfect question to the answer: Miller Lite, brewed in Milwaukee posts a billboard slamming Milwaukee Brewer fans.

"WHO ARE THE AD WIZARDS WHO CAME UP WITH THIS ONE?"

The other line so appropriate for this controversy ironically comes from Miller's advertising folks. You've seen the "High Life Man" spots on TV right. The dude on the left is hilarious, in fact was in Milwaukee not long ago and sang the national anthem at the Brewer game... at Miller Park.

One of the High Life Man's catch phrases may appropriately be laid on the folks at Miller who thought we'd all laugh along when they took a swipe at the Brewers.

"Y'ALL MUST BE CRAZY."

We prefer a pennant chase to a sausage race? Who's we? You mean you and your Cub fans down at Wrigley Field?

This is how Milwaukee's home town beer greets Brewer fans who visited Wrigley for a weekend series against our arch-rivals?

This is how the beer maker after whom the Brewers' home stadium is named... this is how they talk about us in Chicago?

Let me say, brilliant billboard. It's good, especially if you're trying to sell beer in Chicago. If Budweiser, Miller's Rival, had put up that sign I'd tip my hat and say touche.

I have to think some really smart advertising people came up with the ad and went with it... some really smart advertising people who aren't from Milwaukee. I hope that's what it was. They just didn't know, we don't have a sense of humor about the Brewers-Cubs rivalry... or really anything Milwaukee vs. Chicago.

I'll allow anybody that kind of mistake. I've made plenty of them in my career, but what you do then is come clean, and even say you're sorry if you are. Instead, Miller has basically taken the stand that we didn't get the joke. Here's an excerpt from our story on the subject, including quotes from Miller.

"What it was intended to do was create some chatter," Miller spokesman Julian Green told Newsradio 620 WTMJ, "There are fans who may have looked at the sign and took it the wrong way, but we are behind the Brewers."

Green said that in any advertising, if people don’t get the intended message quickly, “as a result you probably won't see similar spots.”

So what was the intended message? Green said the sign was not meant to be a slam on the sausage races, and was “misconstrued as us-against-them, when the sign was celebrating both teams’ recent success.”

All better now Milwaukee? Nope.

What we needed to hear was, "Obviously we underestimated how seriously people take this rivalry, and it made it appear we root for the Cubs over the Brewers. Sorry. The Billboard is coming down, somebody is getting fired, and you can pick up your free sixer of Miller Lite at..."

Final thought, Miller Brewing is a pillar in this community. This company sponsors everything from community cook-outs, church picnics, and camp scholarships to Summerfest and the Brewers. I cannot imagine Milwaukee without Miller Brewing. Whether you drink the stuff or not, Miller touches your life in some way every day.

That's why it pains me to rip them, but as their own ads say, "Mess with the High Life and the High Life will mess with you."

emails: vvitrano@todaystmj4.com

 

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