The Chicago Syndicate: Frank Vincent Defends "Protection" Commercials after Miller Lite Orders the Ads Whacked
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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Frank Vincent Defends "Protection" Commercials after Miller Lite Orders the Ads Whacked

MillerCoors executives just announced they are pulling the Miller Lite “Protection” commercials that have been broadcast for the last month in a national television campaign for the beer company.

Frank Vincent ('The Sopranos') and his sidekick, Mike Starr ('Dumb & Dumber'), play mobsters who offer a store clerk and bartender 'protection.'

The spots are being pulled in response to protest from representatives of the Italian-American community. In the commercials, Frank Vincent (“The Sopranos”) and his sidekick, Mike Starr (“Dumb & Dumber”), play mobsters who offer a store clerk and bartender “protection.” The employees tell them “no thanks,” because they have all the protection they need with Miller Lite’s taste protector lid. Italian music plays in the background, and the actors wear the typical Mafioso attire. The commercials were created by Chicago-based ad agency DraftFCB.

"We seem to be the last breed in America that ad agencies think they can take a shot at," said Lou Rago, founder of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago. On Monday, Rago and Anthony Baratta, the Chicago-based national chairperson for the Commission for Social Justice, had a conference call with MillerCoors executives. Initially, the beer company agreed to run fewer “Protection” commercials. But when Rago and Baratta threatened a national boycott of Miller products by Italian-Americans, the executives agreed to pull the ads within a week.

The controversy hit headlines on Wednesday, June 3rd when the Chicago Sun-Times broke the news. Frank Vincent received a Google alert notifying him about the article, and felt compelled to offer his side of the story. “I think both of these groups should have a better sense of humor,” Vincent told the Sun-Times. “The humor is there in the commercials, and a lot of people were enjoying the work.”

Vincent also went on The Roe Conn Show on WLS AM Wednesday afternoon to discuss the controversy with Roe Conn. When asked if he was perpetuating a stereotype, Frank said he didn’t think so, “Because it’s a character, I’m an actor. I’ve played good guys, I’ve played cops, I’ve played bad guys. I’m acting.” Vincent said.

Frank argued that the mob is not just synonymous with Italian-Americans. History has proven that many different ethnicities have all run organized crime outfits. He wonders why these Italian-American organizations have singled out the Miller Lite commercials. “How about Bugsy, how about all the gangster movies in the 30s and 40s, when they depicted all the original gangsters that came here. The Jews, and the Germans, and the Irish…this argument can go on forever and ever.”

Vincent and Starr both star in the soon-to-be released film “Chicago Overcoat”, filmed by local film production company Beverly Ridge Pictures. The movie also stars Armand Assante (“American Gangster”), Kathrine Narducci (“The Sopranos”), Stacy Keach (“Mike Hammer: Private Eye”) and local actor Danny Goldring (“The Dark Knight”). Vincent looks forward to returning to Chicago to attend the film’s world premiere later this year.


  1. Frank Vincent is a no talent actor and he constantly stereotypes Italian Americans in his roles. On talk radio he called the group Order Sons of Italy "kooks" for them taking a lead role in removing the protection commercials. They were 100% correct in stopping the stereotyping of Italian Americans and I am proud that Anthony Baratta took the lead in having this ad removed. Frank Vincent should get a job because he sucks as an actor.

  2. We hope Frank Vincent does come to Chicago because the majority of Italian Americans in Chicago will protest Chicago Overcoat because of his comments that Italians in Chicago need to get a sense of humor. I am from Chicago and I don't see any humor in Frank Vincent's portrayal of gangsters.

  3. First of all, these people that are always upset about giving a particular group a bad name, should get real. All of the steriotypes be them Jews, Italian, Irish, or Blacks reflect the truth.Are we so sensitve that we cant see ourselfs as we really are? Certainly not everyone follows a life of crime, but come on, this all really happend. It was not made up.And why should some whineing nose Italian,(hypernated) american decided who should earn a living doing a commercial or not. What if this leader of the Italian organization was shut out from doing what he thinks is right, and winds up losing his position and organization because some people feel that they are not Americans by calling themselfs Italian Americans. I would think that they should be proud to call themselfs Americans.And in answer to the anonymous said, that Frank Vincent is a no talent actor, should try to do the job any better. I for one have followed his career and find him a very believable actor.



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