Index Coors Lite Beerwolf Unofficial Fan Page Main
A RAD INTRODUCTION
On early 1980's the current lifestyle did centered aroynd the pop culture, leaving behind the aging Disco craze that dominated the 1970s. Into the new fashion people were more willing to celebrate silly and innocent ideas around the video, videogames and computers-for-all trends: Pac-man, Pink flamingos in every garden; LP records coexisted with cassstte tapes in peace; consoles like Atari 2600, Colecovision and Intellivion were the high tech toys; neon sunglasses, Converse shoes and Hawaiian-style multicolor shirts were "rad"; MTV was in every television set battling the space with the 8 bit computer of the era, either Atari 400/800 or Commodore Vic20/64; the good guys were in America and the bad guys in USSR. As well the common joke was when Ronald Reagan would press the nuke war button insetad the breakfast button by mistake.
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 that time. In a very competitive market, all companies always look holidays for place their products in new markets and demographic groups. Coor's need a special date for promote specifically their product: Coors Lite Beer introduced in 1978, after all the clever label that change of color when is cooled at 39 °F (4 °C) is not attarcting new consumers. But all the big holidays were already covered for other beer companies, from Super Bowl to Christmas.
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 Coors had a new date for marketing, but not an ad campaign yet. The first idea to create the campaign was to celebrate a Halloween party with a brand sponsor. But all other companies did make the same kind of parties too, so this party should be quite different. Why Coors choosed a Werewolf as its product brand mascot? The answer lies in package of the star product of Coors: 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 with a Silver Bullet?"...
... And Beerwolf go the green light and did born in the Halloween of 1983.
THE FIRST COORS BEERWOLF (1983-1986?)
In the plans of Coors, the Beerwolf character should be the soul of the Halloween party, somebody new, different, fresh 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 creatures that are the last ones for get the tag of cute and friendly. But for sell your product, you need to have a cute and friendly werewolf, hence the idea was made of a cartoony werewolf mixed with a real werewolf (according with movies, comics and television series).
"You bring out the beast in me" and "Turn it Loose with Beerwolf!"
Sticker featuring the First Beerwolf version (1983)
The first Beerwolf is a black furred 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. They tried to import the ad campaing to Spain for promote Coors Lite in Europe, sadly the translation of the solgan is one for most biggest flops ever made in the Lost in translation department. The resulting motto was "Sueltate con Beerwolf" which is a rough and mediocre translation like "loose it with Beerwolf", which sadly becomes more close to "have a diarrhea with Beerwolf" more proper for a laxative medicine than for a beer. So far, up to today no merchandise of Beerwolf in Spanish language has been found for this big mistake.
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.
First design of Beerwolf in a Poster for St. Patrick Day (1984)
In auction sites like Ebay often collectibles of the first Beerwolf stay long months waiting for buyers without success. Basically these are very uninspired designs, showing Beerwolf with his cap and bandana in odd poses or with the St. Patrick costume. Bascially this kind of ads was out fashion and far way of the pop culture and more appealing for mature audiences. Most of these audiences meanwhile, were already drinking the beer competitor brands. As I did mention in the introduction, because this version of Beerwolf was not meeting the objectives, a remake of Beerwolf was necessary.
For Halloween of 1985, Coors showed ads set in the "Silver Bullet Bar" featured attractive people in monster 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 Coors could own. The Coors Halloween party with random humans in costumes, is celebrating until the present time. But again the 1980s had something in the bag of tricks for Coors and Beerwolf.
THE SECOND COOR'S BEERWOLF (1986?-1993)
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. After all they did own the copyright and the idea could work with some adjustments. The first Beerwolf was unlucky because his design was referenced to old horror movies, comics and television shows about werewolves since 1950s to 1970s. This Beerwolf looked aged and out of fashion like a dusty statue in a wax museum. If Spud McKenzie was cool because he was "rad and pop", Beerwolf needed to follow the path and get a huge overhaul in his image.
The Second Beerwolf design for St. Patrick Day poster (1986)
TRIVIA: In one of the 1986 Coors Light Ad Televsion shorts for St. Patrick, Beerwolf (2nd design) is questioned by all the ladies in the party's pub if he is really Irish, after some seconds of constant negation, he finally reveals that in fact he is Irish.
The Second Coor's Light Beerwolf is a more cartoony werewolf levaing behind the realistic bits from horror movies, more in line with the pop culture of mid-80s (and dangerously very close to furry fursona designs). He has now the wolf fur color in "chocolate brown", and he has now a blonde hair in Mohican style. Beerwolf's face changed to resemble other beers mascots but making sure that he is a wolf not a dof; with exaggerated lips and even a beard over the fur we make sure he his a responsible adult and not a teeanger trying to get his first keeg of beer (Teen wolf would be not allowed to get Coors until 21, ha!). His fangs are small for made him look more friendly; his wolf paws changed to human like hands and feet 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 they added the tail in fan art); 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, suave, happy and in fashion.
TRIVIA: The second Coors Light Beerwolf have now different jobs and hobbies suitable for adult young likeness. In several images he is shown as a beach lifeguard who is more busy chasing-babes; master of ceremonies at parties; practicing sports like baseball, surf, basketball, snow ski, volleyball, etc; he pumps iron and do weightlifting at Coors Gym. Curiously he never was picked for football, nascar races, rodeo or another sports where Coors has an official sponsorship.
With this radical overhaul, Beerwolf lasted some years in the Coors marketing as another creature in the Halloween party. In this age is when we have the parade of merchandise in the form of t-shirts, wolf caps, pins, underwear, costumes, mugs, bar levers, posters, costumes, stickes and even a plushie doll. The most rare and huge collectible of Beerwolf is the statue: With a cassette tape with a record of 4 ads of Coors Lite, dressed with a cap and jacket from official branding. So far none full statue with all accesories has been found.
Finally Beerwolf had some renown for that sea of merchandise and Coors tried luck again with the werewolf. 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 years.
"I love a man with hairy chest"
Second Beerwolf and Elvira Halloween poster (1986)
THE TWILIGHT OF A WEREWOLF STAR (1993 - PRESENT)
Sadly for Beerwolf the winds of fate changed again of direction against him and this time the Silver Bullet was aim for 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 again to the random people with costumes in a bar paty.
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 late 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.... but wait!
TRIVIA: Some designs of Coors Beerwolf are for sale since 2019 under the label of Old Row clothing line, all of these designs have all the Coors logos and branding removed. These desings are legal so don't fear for a copyright lawsuit or else.
Coors owns the copyrights of Beerwolf, as I could confirm by email with Coors 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 then how is possible that there are new Beerwolf mechandise and Coors really do not care?
Well the answer came from another 1980s cool pop culture mascot icon: Joe Camel. In 1995, there was a trial The people vs Joe Camel where several groups demanded that the big Tobbaco company stopped to use cartoonish mascots for attract kids and teenages to smoking. The ruling of the trial was extended to tobbaco, liquior and beer companies. This is the real Silver Bullet that killed Beerwolf, now Coors has a mascot that cannot be used anymore without getting in hot waters and you know, hot beer tastes awful. Years later, the copyright of Beerwolf was not renewed in some countries, so the character is in a sort of gray area where nobody wants to bring him back and at the same time he still is copyrighted in other countries.
Like with any copyrighted character nowadays you can use Beerwolf for your non-profit home designs or fan art, the second design of Beerwolf is a solid one and maybe he need just to try better waves in a new beach under a new management. So far this is the rough story of an hidden character of the 1980s that had was a bit ahead of his time and had bad times for external circumstances. Give an Awooo! for this good boy!!
Common collectibles of the SecondCoors Light Beerwolf
A LAST AWOO: This page is still a WIP about beerwolf, a lot of his story is not told yet. If you have information about beerwolf (collectibles, worked at coors, want to share experiences or anytithing about him) please contact me in twitter as LyceusAnubite. More info to come!
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Trick or Drink? The history of Coor's Halloween ad campaings LINK DEFUNCT. October 2003, Primedia Business Magazines and Media.
Some references of the Coors Lite beer product bottle and label are taken from its Wikipedia page.
LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO:
Portions of this document are based in material of Primedia Business Magazines and Media, Inc. Used as non-profit, non-commercial and personal web page use, as described in the copyright disclaimer provided by Primedia Inc. website.
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