Miller cans sensibility in latest initiative

Question: What do Elvis Presley, Blondie, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Willie Nelson have in common?

Question: What do Elvis Presley, Blondie, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Willie Nelson have in common?

Exactly - they're white. Very white, some would say. Which leads us to wonder just how the folks at Miller Brewing let that fact slip by them as they were plastering the faces of these musicians - and only these musicians - on beer cans commemorating "50 Years of Rock." Diversity critics and the media jumped all over the beer giant and Rolling Stone magazine last week for producing a series of promotional cans featuring influential figures from rock and roll's first half-century - but utterly failing to include a single black artist. The pictures are all taken from past Rolling Stone covers and were said to represent artists who would "appeal to Miller drinkers." Part of the problem could be Miller's definition of the genre. The company is using Elvis' 1954 Sun Studio recording of "That's All Right," his first single, as the day when rock music was born - a kind of musical creationism that ignores the many black blues artists who were "rocking and rolling all night" when Elvis was in grade school. And unlike actual creationists, Miller and Wenner Media, publisher of Rolling Stone, could not even come up with a good story. One spokesman pointed out that because Rolling Stone wasn't published until 1967, many of rock and roll's black pioneers died before getting to appear on the cover - a fact that limited their choice of artists. The good news is this: Miller still has about 25 years before it has to worry about commemorating the birthday of hip-hop. That should give them just enough time to track down a black rapper.
  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's Washington, DC, bureau chief. Ratings: 1. Clueless 2. Ill-advised 3. On the right track 4. Savvy 5. Ingenious

  • Have you registered with us yet?

    Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

    Register
    Already registered?
    Sign in

    Would you like to post a comment?

    Please Sign in or register.