Brand: Miller Lite (Miller Brewing Co.)
Execution: TV, Web
Link: Click Here
Target: Men’s men
This campaign features a series of spots set in a glass-encased room in the middle of a warehouse. A group of known and unknown manly-men (including Burt Reynolds, Jerome Bettis, Eddie Griffin, a professional wrestler, a rodeo star and the rock climber who sawed through his own arm with a pocket knife to save himself and others) sit around a conference table. In each spot these uber-men debate and vote on a ‘man law’. One spot concerns the question of dating a best-friend’s ex-girlfriend (okay after six months unless she’s really hot), clinking beer bottles (from the bottom is better) and whether you can bring beer to a party and then take it back (you can take one beer home if it can fit in your pocket – the rest must stay). The website allows Miller Lite Fans to add and edit their own manlaws.
These spots are easy to follow and moderately entertaining. There is relatively good branding which improves for the spots which feature the Miller Lite bottles as part of the ‘manlaws’. The most functional part of this campaign is the ease with which new spots can be generated. Each spot is short and involves a single set-up, or two at most. There are no CGI effects or expensive locations. Talent is a concern, but other than Griffin, the rest of the talent comes from the B, C & D-list and the pool is big enough that the ensemble does not rest with a single player. This helps Miller combat the single biggest issue with television advertising – viewer fatigue. Most brands and agencies significantly overestimate the durability of their campaign executions and fatigue consumers with too much exposure. A campaign which allows new spots to be executed cheaply and quickly with no loss in quality is a significant asset for the brand.
In spite of the efficiency of these lean spots, this campaign has serious flaws. The most significant is ownability. There is absolutely nothing that ties Miller Lite uniquely to these ‘manlaws.’ In fact the campaign struggles to establish universality for the manlaws and in doing so eliminates the possibility of ownability for Miller. The practical effect of this is that even if Miller Lite has enough branding to ensure that related recall for these spots is reasonable, the campaign does not build the brand in the longterm, only (possibly) the category. Relevance is another serious issue. Why does the existance of the manlaws council interest us in Miller Lite? It certainly puts a masculine cast on Lite beer, but it never convinces us that Miller is uniquely masculine among lite beers nor does it give us any other good reason for sticking to Miller Lite. This advertising blog has criticized many of the campaigns in the beer genre (with the notable exception of Miller High Life) and this advertising falls squarely into that undistinguished company.
Branding Bottom Line:
Miller gives men just what we need – more rules.Â Still, any company that hires the guy who cut through his own arm to save himself can’t be all bad.