Miller’s filer draws negative response

By Stephanie Bradley

A recent spring break advertising supplement distributed by the Miller Brewing Company was pulled from full distribution in response to a large amount of negative reaction from readers.

The section was intended to be a parody of college students’ spring break activities, said Beverly Jurowski, Miller public relations manager, but instead many readers thought it was sexist and promoted alcohol abuse.

Accordingly to a letter of apology sent to schools which received the supplement, it also was inetended to give information about Miller’s activities in Daytona Beach, Fla., and South Padre Island, Texas, this month. The letter stated that the company “did not intend to produce material which might be considered offensive or inappropiate.”

Jukowski said 55 schools were slated to receive the supplement, but it was distributedto 45 schools. She said the company decided to pull the advertising before the final 10 schools received it.

Miller began circulating the supplement the first week of February and discontinued distribution when the company began receiving the first complaints Feb. 23, she said. It is the first time Miller has had such a strong reaction to its advertising, she said.

Jurkowski said she did not see the supplement before its distribution, but that is not unusual because work does not have to be approved by all dpartments before it is distributed. “I don’t have my press releases approved by the marketing department before I send them out,” she said.

If Jurkowshi had seen the supplement before it was sent, she “would have raised question about the approach and tone. I would have gotten (female employees’) reactions before it was sent out. I can see, as a women, how some people might be offended by it. I would not defend it to anybody,” she said.

“It’s hard (in these situations) when you work here and have company loyalty. Management trusts its employees,” Jurkowski said. Miller lost a large amount of money on the ad, but Jurkowski said she was not at liberty to name a figure.

Roberta Klesener, director of liturgy and music at the Newman Catholic Student Center, said she objected to the supplement because it appealed to “all the negative stuff-drinking in excess, putting down women and showing them as sex objects. It didn’t do anything for men either.” She said it encourages students to participate in activities that are not in their best interests, and showed them to be less than intelligent.

Klesener said she does not consider herself “prudish,” but the supplement was “offensive and degrading. It didn’t come across as funny. I can see where the intent came from, but it did not suceed.”

The 14-page insert. titled “The Beachin‘ Times,” was inserted in the Feb. 15 issue of The Northern Star.

On the same day the Miller insert was in The Northern Star, a Budweiser spring break supplement also was distributed in the Star. No reaction has been voiced about the eight-page Budweiser supplement, which is a guide to Budweiser-sponsored activities during spring break.