Is Pamela Anderson next for Miller Lite?

Miller enjoys attention; sequel to 'Catfight' reported in the works

Feb 4, 2003 - Miller Brewing Co. reportedly is already working on a sequel to its "Catfight" commercial that has sparked much criticism in recent weeks. The new spot would feature former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson.


"It makes sense to do a next generation of spots when an ad is generating so much attention," said Ron Acosta, a spokesman for Miller.

Miller's "Catfight" and commericals from Adolph Coors Co. prominently featuring women have critics labeling the advertisements a throwback to days when beer ads shamelessly exploited women as sex objects.

SABMiller, Miller's parent company, and Coors, which have struggled to gain ground against industry leader Anheuser-Busch, don't seem to mind the controversy.

"For us, the publicity has been great," Acosta said. "We never expected" so much debate over the ad, he said. With the launch of Miller Lite's new packaging, "Everything is really coming together for us at the right time," he added.

The "Catfight" ad features a blonde and a brunette fighting over why each drinks Miller Lite. It's an updated version of the brand's classic "Tastes Great-Less Filling" debate. The women end up in a swimming pool, where they tear off each other's clothes.

Public reaction has been mixed. In a survey at USA Today, 47% of those polled say the commercial is not to sexist too run, while 27% find it offensive and 25% don't care. A survey shows a plurality (39%) find the spot clever. About 1 in 4 note such advertisements are why they drink microbrewed beer.

Newspaper columnists, television commentators and watchdog groups haven't been shy about attacking the the ad.

"It's unfortunate that the ad was played so prominently during football games, when sons are watching the game with their fathers," said Melissa Caldwell, director of research and publications for the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group in Los Angeles. "It's pretty tacky, not to mention irresponsible."

Miller's ad "is a desperate attempt to rise above the ad clutter," said Mark Rodman, who owns Beverage Distribution Consultants in Swampscott, Mass. The ads offend women, the consumers who buy beer for their husbands and boyfriends, he said.

Not everyone sees it that way. "This stuff works," said Tom Pirko, president of BevMark LLC, a consulting firm in Santa Barbara, Calif. "From the time of Adam, it's a tried-and-true method of reaching young male beer drinkers."

Pirko says that industry leader Anhueser-Busch still may benefit the most. That's because the Miller spot is similar to Coors' NFL ads that prominently feature rowdy men and a pair of blonde, busty cheerleaders known as "The Twins." The Miller and Coors ads will cancel each other out, allowing A-B to appear to be above the fray, Pirko said.

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