Posted by: David Kiley on January 23, 2007
Miller Brewing shelved the Man-Laws campaign from Crispin Porter + Bogusky under pressure of slipping beer sales.
The campaign featured pop culture icon Burt Reynolds at a table with other men, like former NFL quarterback Jim Kelly and boxer Oscar del la Hoya, discussing questions that have long plagued men like: If a friend gets you a beer from the bar, is it acceptable for the friend to stick his finger in the opening to bring back several beers to the table at once? Answer: No…you poke it, you drink it.
The ads sound better than they were executed, in my opinion. The other problem, I think, has been Budweiser’s up-spend on its Bud Lite product, as well as the successful launch of Heineken Premium Light. Most would say that Miller Lite doesn’t compete with Heineken Premium Lite. But there has been a curiosity factor about the Heineken product, which undoubtedly has sucked some cheap Lite drinkers, as well as a lot of sampling. All those things put extra pressure on Miller Lite the last few quarters. And one more thing…Miller Lite tastes like crap. So, it could be that though surveys indicate that consumers think it tastes better than Bud Lite, the markeplace truth may be that lower prices for Bud may be siphoning off more of the people who drink Lite junk whatever the brand.
Beer, of course, is driven as much by distribution as it is marketing; moreso perhaps. Liquor stores and supermarkets feature what they get paid to feature. And the same goes for bars.
Even though I thought some of the TV ads fell flat, at least the campaign reflected an effort to get a better brand story going for Miller Lite. I can’t imagine what any agency (Crispin still has the business) will come up with to move the sales needle on this swill. But I’ll tell you…if I was an agency executive, I’d be wishing that I didn’t need this account. Coming up with ad ideas clever enough to boost sales of a product this bad is nobody’s idea of fun.