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Smart Lite: The Dumbing of a Nation

07/12/2016

Lesser Filled Tatses GooderI wrote something last night about Miller Lite’s new campaign that reads “Tastes different, because it’s brewed different.” It was a light poke at the grammar, but then I got to thinking, how does that happen? No doubt, it’s some ad agency, and then the suits/pant suits at Miller, who sign off on it. I’m sure they’re in a board room somewhere, and someone raised the objection “do we care that it should be ‘differently’?” And, you know it’s someone like me to whom such wording resonates as wrong; it creates a discord in my head that makes me cant my head like a dog does when hearing a whistle of their namesake. It offends my sense of justice. We wouldn’t accept that 2+2 =5 in print or on air; a second grader would call that out as wrong. Why do we accept it with our language? I’ll try to answer the rhetorical later. For now, back to the board room.

I’m sure the rebuke came from one of the senior creatives and went something like this.  “Nah… It’s folksy.  Besides, we’re marketing to people who drink light beer; how sophisticated can they be?” To his/her point, “tastes different, because it’s brewed differently” doesn’t have the same sort of consonance and congruence.  Perhaps it’s more of a philosophical inference as in it tastes different because it’s brewed different, and in implication that it’s brewed to be different.   It’s really a deep message if you read it in that context.  But that’s now why that ad is permeating our airwaves and almost literally* hurting my ears.   This is why:  They think that most of us won’t notice, and those who do, won’t really care.  They think we are dumb, or at the very least, daft. That’s the more deplorable kind of dumb to me, because it’s not coming from an ignorance, but a place of willful disregard for the truth.

Companies, advertisers, children, pets will all achieve to the level we expect, and clearly, we expect too little from our admen (and women).

After a little probing, I learned that TBWA’s Los Angeles office was named agency of record for Miller Lite in September of 2014; this was my the site of my first internship out of college.  Back then, it was Chiat Day, and it was the home of giant minds of advertising like Lee Clow and Jay Chiat.  Knowing the origins of the egregiousness only “ads” to my disappointment.

*for you Mark Korte.

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