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By Published on .

Miller Brewing Co. will put more ad muscle behind its NFL sponsorship this year.

Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, this month is filming the first two of several NFL-theme spots for Miller Lite. The brewer produced only two NFL ads during the 1996 season, when it was embroiled in a sweeping agency review.

Miller wants to strengthen its association with the NFL in consumers' minds, especially since the No. 2 brewer shares NFL marketing rights with Anheuser-Busch.

"Miller thinks it has a good campaign going [with its Lite advertising from Fallon], and they want to communicate their sponsorship of the NFL," an industry observer said.

The brewer's NFL-specific commercials will run chiefly on Fox's league telecasts, and one of the spots currently being produced features Fox NFL commentator Terry Bradshaw.

The first spot will promote the long-running Miller Lite football handbook and breaks next month when the book becomes available in packages of Lite. Miller has distributed the handbook, produced by NFL Properties, for more than a decade.

Parodying PBS-style book review programs, the ad is a book chat in which a jock pummels a critic who sneers at the handbook's lack of literary merit.

The other spot, featuring Mr. Bradshaw, breaks in December and promotes inflatable chairs emblazoned with team and Miller logos.

This will be the third year the chairs are on sale at retail outlets and the second year they are supported by advertising. Last year's chair spot was produced by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, before it lost creative on Miller Lite.

Contributing: Jeff Jensen, Laura Petrecca.

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