Oddly, in spite of their shared fate as underwhelming sales producers, if not outright bombs, they all enjoyed the rosy glow of early press hailing in-market surprises of "unexpected volume," "well above-plan results," and "quick distribution builds." In the end, however, the rosier the early press reports, the more likely they masked-- perhaps intentionally-- the beginning of the brand's demise.
May 7, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article
"(The MillerCoors CEO) credits the success of Miller Fortune to its marketing campaigns and getting the product to market quickly with the fastest distribution in MillerCoors’ history.” This strategy paid off as Miller Fortune gained 30 basis points share of total industry volume in March, according to Nielsen."
The temptation to declare victory well before the key in-market battles are fought is apparently irresistible to the captains of beer. Indeed, this over-bubbly, way-too-early optimism is why we can confidently display the Miller Fortune bottle pointing in the direction we predict sales will soon head, if they aren't already.
Another popular press-release gush is "exceeding all our expectations." In the spirit of double-speak skepticism, this might best be interpreted: "We worried this was a loser from the start, but a few folks are actually buying it."
When it comes to reliable fortune-telling, there are better indications of where a new product is headed. Sometimes, what isn't said is telling. For example, the MillerCoors CEO professed his pride in the brand's marketing programs, but chose to omit mention of firing Miller Fortune's ad agency. What does it say to spend months or years preparing advertising to launch a new brand, only to jettison the agency-- and presumably, the ads and all the thinking behind them-- when the brand is just a few months old?
Not that someone shouldn't have paid for approving this work. Maybe the same guy who thought "un-distilled" somehow differentiated a beer.
People shy away from identifying their careers with these brands.
Photos like these vanish from press releases...
... and then the press releases themselves vanish.
Altogether, a pretty good fortune-teller's crystal ball.