The Spot: Brown-Bottle Blues

A college grad breaks out of his beer rut in Goodby's rhythmic, musical debut for Corona Light

IDEA: Guys who’ve just left college can fall into a rut when they start working. “You were in this unstructured environment, and now you have this job,” said Nick Spahr, associate creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. “You wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, go out, go home. It’s the same thing over and over.” Corona Light, a new Goodby client, saw opportunity in this malaise. Bud Light and Miller Lite, the so-called brown-bottle beers, are the drinks of choice in this unthinking routine—in the end, part of the problem. Corona Light could be a solution of sorts. A pair of new, highly stylized spots (one, called “Stan,” was just released, with another due shortly) dramatize this repetitive stasis and the joyful release from it, positioning Corona Light as a refreshing alternative. “Ordering a Bud Light or Miller Lite is almost a default mechanism. It’s the generic choice,” said Spahr. “Our thought was, let’s get people to break out of that rut and try something different.”

COPYWRITING: Copywriter David Roth and art director Grant Piper came up with an oddly rhythmic script to capture the hero’s boredom. “Stan … Stan … Eat. Work. Gym. Shower. Beer. Watch. Sleep,” the male voiceover almost sings as still photos show the eponymous hero blindly following his regimen. (The name Stan was chosen because it was a little left of center.) “They had to perform the script for me, actually, because on paper it just looked weird,” said Spahr. “They basically wrote a song.”

The voiceover repeats two similar stanzas. Each “sleep” line is followed by a brief, hallucinatory live-action moment—a talking sheep and a girl sitting on a red ball each tell Stan to “dream.” In the middle of the fourth cycle, the pattern breaks: “Eat. Work. … Corona Light! That’s refreshing!” says the voiceover. Suddenly, Stan is partying the night away, as the narrator sings along: “Bro hugs. Costume party. Girl. Karaoke. Dance-a-thon. Photo booth. Digit-swapping. All night. Corona Light. Stan! Stan!” The on-screen tagline at the end reads, “A refreshing change of beer.”

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The spot is mostly still photos. “The idea came up internally, but it made a lot of us nervous,” said Spahr. “You’re spending a lot of your client’s money on these things, and to present them with an idea that’s 80 percent still imagery, if not more, is a little scary for them.” The director, Mike Mills, who had done work in a similar style in the past, helped calm the nerves. “It was a dream scenario,” said Spahr. “People always send work to him, and he always says no. But the style of these spots was in his world, in his visual language. We approached him, and he jumped on it.”

TALENT: The lead actor needed to be the right age and likable enough to root for—”not so handsome that he’s unrelatable, not so downtrodden that you feel absolutely sorry for him,” Spahr said. “Then, in the back half of the spot, when he starts having a lot of fun, you’ve got to have someone who can be really comfortable in front of the camera, acting like a fool. He had a great smile and good eyes.”

SOUND: The agency went through about five different music houses to get the script turned into a song. Frustrated, Piper put together his own track using GarageBand on his iPad, and snuck it into a group of tracks he presented to his creative directors. They chose his work as their favorite—and it provided the basis for the final soundtrack, produced by Marmoset Music in Portland, Ore.

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