Sopranos actor surprised by Italians' reaction to MillerCoors campaign


The Chicago Sun-Times reports actor Frank Vincent from the former HBO mobster hit “The Sopranos” thinks his fellow Italian-Americans need to lighten up. The same, in his opinion, goes for brewing giant MillerCoors.

Vincent found out that the Miller Lite “Protection” ad campaign in which he stars was being pulled because of complaints from the Italian-American community when he received a Google alert about Wednesday’s exclusive Sun-Times story. He said he had not heard from either MillerCoors or DraftFCB about the decision.

MillerCoors has pulled their ads starring Frank Vincent of “Sopranos” fame due to complaints from Italian-American organizations.

The axed campaign features Vincent as a mafioso thug trying to strong-arm a young clerk in a convenience store in one TV spot and do the same to a bartender in a bar in two other TV commercials, as well as in a number of radio spots. Vincent’s character in the commercials embodies many of the stereotypical tough-guy traits familiar from countless mafia portrayals in film and television, though in the Miller Lite commercials Vincent’s performance comes off as more of a spoof.

On Wednesday afternoon, Vincent said he was “absolutely surprised” by Italian Americans’ strong objections to his portrayal and by MillerCoors’ decision to pull the campaign so quickly.

After complaining to MillerCoors about the ads, Lou Rago, founder of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago and Anthony Baratta, the Chicago-based national chairperson for the Commission for Social Justice, on Tuesday threatened to organize a boycott of MillerCoors by Italian Americans. By Tuesday afternoon, MillerCoors agreed to pull the campaign immediately, which would mean all ads will be gone from the air within a week.

“I think both of these groups should have a better sense of humor,” Vincent told the paper, who has played a number of mafia characters over the years. He said he didn’t hesitate at all in taking on the role in the “Protection” campaign.

The “Protection” campaign was the first big Miller Lite campaign to come out of DraftFCB since MillerCoors handed the agency the major account two months ago. DraftFCB also handles creative for Coors Light.