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On early 1980's the life style was the "pop culture" and people were more willing to celebrate silly
and innocent ideas: Pink flamingos in every garden; LP records coexisted with CDs in peace; neon
sunglasses, Converse shoes and Hawaiian-style multicolor shirts were "groovy"; MTV was in every
television set; the good guys were in America and the bad guys in USSR and everybody wanted an
Atari game console with blocky graphics. In few words, a different world from the current one.
The beer market, like any other activity, needed to be in the bandwagon of the pop culture. Coors
Brewing Co. is the third brewing company in the United States. In a very competitive market, all
companies always look holidays for place their products in new markets. Coor's needed a special
date, but all the big holidays were already covered for other companies, from Super Bowl to
Around 1982-1983, brand manager Gary Naifeh got the idea of creating a new beer holiday for
Coors: Halloween. This happened after a brainstorm for find a date, since Coors tried to market
their products in the St. Patrick's Day with little success. Naifeh believed that Halloween
represented a new, adult marketing chance without too many risk. Barbara Wilson, Coors
director of marketing in that age described it: "The feeling was, if we can't own
existing holidays, maybe we should create one of our own."
Finally Coor's had a new date for marketing, but not a campaign yet. The first idea to create the
campaign was to celebrate a Halloween party with brand sponsor. But all other companies did make
the same kind of parties too, so this party should be quite different. Why Coors choused
a Werewolf as its corporate mascot? The answer lies in name of the star product of Coors: Coors Lite Beer
showed in a silver and red aluminium case and marketed as The Silver Bullet. Anybody can guess
it, "What is the Halloween creature that can be related to this name?"... And Beerwolf born
in the Halloween of 1983.
FIRST COOR'S BEERWOLF (1983-1985)
The Beerwolf should be the soul of the Halloween somebody new and funny, at least to the eyes of
consumers. But this Beerwolf wasn't a fortunate design for being attractive to say the least. Okay
werewolves are not always cute, but for sell a product you need to have a cute and friendly
werewolf. So now let's go to check this werewolf:
"You bring out the beast in me"
Sticker featuring the First Beerwolf version (1983)
The first Beerwolf is a black fur werewolf, with black eyes, huge paws and no tail (Furry fans
still complain about this). He wears a cap and red bandana as the only usual cloth that he wears, which
adds very little to made a personality. Beerwolf face seems taken from the movie "The Wolfman"
(1941) with Lon Chaney Jr. One of the most unfriendly looking werewolf face you could find
in the history of cinema. This werewolf did look not very friendly even for a Halloween party.
After the Halloween run of 1983 with a campaign titled "Turn it Loose with Beerwolf!", Coors
management wasn't very happy of the results. For 1984, Coors tried again with minor changes in the
mascot like a new title for the campaign: "You bring out the beast in me". Again, Coors Beerwolf
passed almost ignored from the public, so this was the last year where the werewolf had all the
spotlight of the Halloween. It was very obvious that Miller won the beer party with their ads
with the dog "Bud Mckenzie". Also, Coors wasn't happy for the mediocre St. Patrick's Day
performance of Beerwolf. Really this werewolf didn't appeal to public, as show in this poster:
First Beerwolf Poster St. Patrick Day (1984)
As you can see, often collectibles of this Beerwolf stay long months waiting for buyers in bid websites.
For Halloween of 1985, Coors showed ads set in the "Silver Bullet Bar" featured attractive people in
costumes celebrating the holiday with Coors Light. The idea worked as a theme event, but the brand still hadn't hit on a big idea for an occasion that Coor's
could own. This line in Coors Halloween marketing continues until the present.
SECOND COOR'S BEERWOLF (1986?-1992)
Coors discarded Beerwolf in favor of a costume parade for Halloween, but internally the management changed
its mind and made a major overhaul in the failed mascot. The first Beerwolf was unlucky because he referenced
to old horror movies, comics and garbage about werewolves since 1950s. This Beerwolf looked aged and out
of fashion like a dusty statue in a wax museum. If Spud McKenzie was cool because he was "pop", Beerwolf
needed to follow the path and get a huge overhaul in his image. The main changes foe the second Beerwolf are:
Second Beerwolf St. Patrick poster (1987?)
The Second Coor's Light Beerwolf has the fur color in "chocolate brown", and he has now a blonde hair
in Mohican style. Beerwolf's face changed to resemble a real but cartoony wolf, with exaggerated lips and even
a beard over the fur. His fangs are small for made him look friendly; his paws changed to human like hands
but still keep fur and claws. Sometimes he has three or four fingers in the hands, also Beerwolf remains
tailless (Furry fans still cry for this), but now his eyes are yellow (correct color for a wolf) with stylish
neon sunglasses. A big smile always ends the picture for remark that he's always cool, happy and in fashion.
Unlike the First Coors Light Beerwolf, the new Beerwolf has a job: He's a beach lifeguard, chasing-babes
and a sports fan; with this plot, he can be practice Coors sponsored sports like baseball, surf, basketball,
snow ski, weightlifting, volleyball and so on. Curiously he never was picked for football or rodeo, until
now none collectible with Beerwolf practicing those activities has been found. Of course with this change,
the second Beerwolf is considered sexier by fans.
With this radical overhaul, Beerwolf lasted some years in the Coors marketing as another creature in the
Halloween party. Then Beerwolf meets Cassandra Peterson in the Halloween of 1986, the cult-babe "Elvira,
Mistress of the Dark." in a poster where both appears in a big hug with the legend "I love a man
with hairy chest". Elvira was a huge success for Coors Halloween campaign on that year and the next
Second Beerwolf and Elvira Halloween poster (1986)
Beerwolf returned quietly in the form of plushies, pins, dishware, T-shirts, bar ads, t-shirts,
posters, stickers and even in underwear. Even there were made costumes of the new Beerwolf, some made
professionally for Coor's marketing events, others made at home for werewolf fans using the plastic mask
released in these times. Also one of the best moments for Beerwolf was when Coors released werewolf statues
in bars and supermarkets, they had a cassette tape player and people could hear the happy voice of
Beerwolf recorded in cassette.
Sadly for Beerwolf, the winds changed again of direction against him. The marketing environment in the US
shifted in the late 80s, when rumors began circulating that Procter & Gamble's revered "moon and stars"
logo was related to devil worship. Coors management looked at Procter's trouble and though that if
this nonsense could happen, it could spill over to a spokesperson that bills herself as the
"Mistress of the Dark". Elvira didn returned on 1988 and Coors quietly changed plans about the
Halloween parades and parties.
Elvira returned from 1990 to 1995, since the employees and distributors of Coors made a campaign
to bring her back. But in the middle of the "moon and stars war", the Beerwolf had his Silver Bullet
literally. The last Beerwolf merchandise was shipped to stores around 1992 and the stock remain even was
sent to other countries as rebate. Actually Beerwolf merchandise only can be founded on auction
sites like E-bay or flea markets.
Coors owned the rights of Beerwolf, as I could confirm by email with employees of the company in 1998.
With the fusion of Coors and Molson, the new company Molson-Coors is the new owner of the copyright.
But sadly, it seems that the new company doesn't want to bring back Beerwolf, in some way they
are right because ironically Beerwolf was not a good beer-seller. This is a shame because the werewolf
fans miss a good-heart, groovy and cool werewolf character.
Common collectibles of Coors Light Beerwolf
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Trick or Drink? The history of Coor's Halloween ad campaings. October 2003, Primedia Business Magazines and Media.
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