Are Mark Harmon's days of wandering the barley fields and hops patches numbered?
The folks at Coors say no--but they acknowledge that they are looking for "creative supplemental advertising" to entice young adult consumers from 21 to 25.
Is Harmon, who's 36, no longer appealing to young would-be brewskie drinkers?
"That's your intimation, not ours," declared Coors corporate communications account exec Rhona Williams. She stressed that Harmon's 2 1/2-year stint as spokesman has been "extremely effective." She added, "Just as soon as he finishes his next movie (the filming in Philadelphia "Stealing Home"), we'll shoot more commercials with him." (Harmon has done about 30 Coors plugs.)
Her sentiments were echoed by Gary Naiseh, Coors' v.p. of brand management, who told us--through Harmon's concerned PR rep--that "we realize there has been an inordinate amount of speculation in the trade press regarding the issue of advertising for Coors beer. . . . The Coors brand will continue to use the services of Harmon."
But one expert in the beverage biz wonders if those supplemental ads might be a way of gradually phasing Harmon out. "At least until he isn't the company's major pitchman," said Paul Gillett, publisher of the L.A.-based trades California Beverage Hotline and the Wine Investor (which he also edits).
As Gillett explained, the wine cooler industry is taking its toll on the beer industry--especially with its appeal to the youngers. That appeal is enhanced by hip spokesmen like Bruce Willis.
Some companies, like biggie Anheuser-Busch, have countered with youth-appeal beer ads, like those boasting pup Spuds McKenzie (who's always accompanied by gorgeous women).
Said Gillett: "It would seem that Coors would also want to do some fighting for that potential market. But to appeal to that age group, you can't use Mark Harmon. He's more the 'earth shoes' type. You know, he appeals to the Aspen-type crowd of the early '70s. Kind of a good-looking John Denver-type. Which is fine when you're trying to appeal to one audience. Not so fine if you're aiming for another."
Meantime, Harmon's film career seems to be going good. Next up: "Presidio," with Sean Connery.