As all of you sure definitively know—mainly due to the fact that anyone whom reads this blog is both an insatiable alcoholic and someone who Jesus blessed with taste buds capable of tasting greatness—Anheuser-Busch is a great American company that makes the greatest product that America has ever known. Or at least it was. However, even though the company is now controlled by dirty Europeans who love (more effective) socialized medicine, (universal) unnecessary literacy and second place finishes in hockey at the Jr. Goodwill Games, its legacy remains the same. The Clydesdales. The Budweiser frogs and the fellas yelling “Wasssuuuppp!!!” The American flag can. The goddamn beer itself. No matter who owns it, AB will always represent these United States. No matter where the corporate headquarters are located, Anheuser-Busch will always be ours.
This, the antithesis in ethos and purpose between Anheuser-Busch and Miller, is what makes the recent news emanating from Wall Street of AB’s potential takeover of Miller so startling and, in many ways, welcome. Startling because Anheuser-Busch and Miller couldn’t be companies that are more different in their origins and character. Welcome because, finally, Miller has a true mentor to show it the ropes, to improve its work, to look the company and the 27 people who buy its merchandise right in the eyes and tell it the truth: you suck. And that is a problem that only Anheuser-Busch can solve.
Miller is a business that only Anheuser-Busch can save. And it appears for the time being that the greatest beer producer that the world has ever known will at least try to do just that. And it appears for the time being that the most American company in the history of America will leverage its money and its reputation in an attempt to serve as a beacon of hope for a competitor that has lost its way, for a blood-rival that may have never found it in the first place.
Anheuser-Busch is trying to save Miller from itself. Here some potential ways that it can do so.
How to Make Miller A Legitimate Company: A 6-Point Plan
Point 1: Sell It At Guantanamo Bay-Without getting into the politics of the United States and its halfway lifted embargo against Cuba, a hot topic given the Pope’s recent visit to the island nation where he, presumably, doused Raul Castro’s beard in Holy Water, let’s focus on the portion of the Caribbean country that the United States does control and yet, stupidly, refuses to make money off of besides using it as the setting of the final scene of Bad Boys II: Guantanamo Bay.
Many of you may know Guantanamo Bay as a grim place where terrorists are held in isolation and the guards, based on the second Harold and Kumar film, make said terrorist suck their wieners. However, in spite of its reputation, Guantanamo Bay could also become an economic engine used to drive America forward by both adding to our bottom line through access to a new, and perhaps lucrative, market and allowing us to unload all of our terrible products that no one wants on people that we hate and want to punish. Imagine a Guantanamo Bay inmate wearing a smock from Jessica Simpson’s clothing line while drinking a Miller Lite and reading a physical book? Talk about torture that makes America rich and isn’t explicitly prohibited in the Geneva Convention. That’s what I call a classic win-win-win proposition, while also successfully marketing the Miller brand to the only group of people that are desperate enough to buy it…
Point 2: Sell It In A Pouch-Have you ever had a Capri Sun? Of course you have. This is America. And, as Ben Carson just said on Meet the Press, he would never support a president who hadn’t tasted the deliciousness of a Strawberry-Kiwi flavored drink in an environmentally unfriendly and deceptively small plastic pouch. Here’s looking at you Carly Fiorina. Because I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure, that there were no Capri-Sun vending machines in the corporate headquarters during your tenure at HP.
The question remains: what is it that made Capri-Sun great, its taste or its packaging? No one can be sure. What we do know, however, is that Miller will never be able to match Capri-Sun in its yumminess or refreshing nature. It can replicate its pouch though, and test the theory that American consumers are willing to drink anything out of a pouch because it makes us feel like the momma kangaroo in my favorite Jerry O’Connell film Kangaroo Jack. Worst-case scenario: everyone still hates Miller products even in their new pouch. Best case: parents buy it for children who are too young to verbally express their disdain for the drink because parents nowadays are dumb and don’t realize when things contain alcohol. Like Guantanamo Bay, this would be tapping into a new market. And that my friends is what business innovation is all about.
Point 3: Rename It “Super Duper Lite”-Sometimes business things like “sales” and “revenue” and “profit” and “not being bankrupt” aren’t really all that connect with the quality of your actual product itself. Sometimes its about your ability to promote your brand in such a way that you get people to ignore things like quality or price and pay attention to things such as the company’s name or which member of the band Hanson you have gotten to appear in your television commercials. This is called “nonsensical thinking” in most business schoosl. Or at least I think it is. I never went to business school, but neither did Tracy McGrady so…I’m not too concerned with that.
Anyways, let’s assume for a minute that Miller Lite doesn’t have the financial war chest necessary to meet Isaac Hanson’s asking price to appear in a 30-second TV spot, and focus on the brand’s name. Miller. Is that inspiring anybody to buy anything? No. Of course not. My all-time favorite Monday Night Football commentator (way to drag him down Al Michales) Dennis Miller hasn't even made a movie since Joe Dirt. Something that might inspire, or dupe, people into buying the beer in spite of its inherent terribleness though is a more boisterous or joyful moniker. Super Duper Lite. Beer Great (where we make great beer). Happiness Can. Orgasm Juice. I Can't Believe It's Not Diarrhea. Think about ways to appeal to the American consumer without improving the actual beer in any way, shape or form. Changing the name may be the easiest, or only, way to do just that. I can't think of another one so...
Point 4: Make it the “Official Beer of Scott Walker’s Presidential Campaign”-An easy connection, given Walker’s Wisconsin roots and the promotional boost attaching the beer to such a nationally popular candidate’s campaign could offer. Who cares if Scott Walker never graduated from college (neither did George Washington…FYI)? Who gives a F if Scott Walker looks like an actor who would play the father on the family sitcom “My Dad Got AIDS From A Prostitute...That Isn't My Mom”? Does it really matter that Scott Walker wants to use tax dollars to build a wall along the US Canada border and make travel for both NHL franchises and my homeboy Drake infinitely harder in the process? Scott Walker can win the presidency goddamn it!!
Oh wait. Just checked the urine-covered copy of Monday’s Wall Street Journal on the floor of thw public bathroom I am currently defecating in. Man the one year I don’t read the daily newspaper and I look like a total jackass…
Point 5: Make It Taste Better-How do you make a liquid taste better? Add sugar? Milk? Turn High Life into a low end brand of Arnold Palmer called "Corey Pavin's Favorite Arnold Palmer Drink"? I don’t know. That’s what the scientists have to find out.
Point 6: Stop Producing It-The hard lesson here is that some things just cannot be saved. The Soviet Union (thanks God). Capri-Suns (thanks Satan). N’Sync (thanks Timberlake). Some of these things are good. Some of these things are bad. But the fact is that, for whatever reason, they all reached a place and time where their existence just could not be justified. But the fact is that, for whatever reason, they all reached a point where their presence could not continue on.
Miller may be at that point. It may not. However it seems likely that, given the general disdain we all share for the worst tasting thing that I have personally ever put in my mouth, which is saying something (cause I've eaten at every Old Country Buffet in America), Miller, as a brand, will one day reach that point. However it seems likely that for Miller, as a brand, the end is near.
Anheuser-Busch will buy Miller in order to, sooner or later, pull its plug. Anheuser-Busch will buy Miller in order to, sooner or later, put it out of its misery. Anheuser-Busch will buy Miller in order to, sooner or later, allow the Brewers to play in the most simply named stadium on the face of the Earth. Once Miller beer ceases to exist its name will cease to exist as well. Once Miller closes down the Brewers Stadium will simply be called “Park.” That is all of the Miller beer family that will remain. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Exactly what this shit-hole drink deserves.
Closing down Miller would be mean. But sometimes the ends justify the mean. Anheuser-Busch realize that, or at least they will. If not now then sometime in the future. If not now then, hopefully, soon enough.