The next star of Miller Lite commercials? The actual beer.
The spots, which will air during NFL games, advance Lite's new product-focused ad strategy that began in late 2013 when the brewer began selling Lite in white-labeled retro-packaging. In 2014 ads began playing up Lite's heritage as the first mainstream light beer, but still included a few lines meant to elicit laughs, as light beer ads have traditionally done.
The newest ads -- which represent TBWA's first significant work for the brand since winning the account earlier this fall -- take the beer-focused approach one step further. The spots bypass humor altogether in favor of extreme close-ups of the suds. The ads were filmed using a high-definition GoPro camera that was put inside 700-gallon tanks of Miller Lite. The goal was to capture "the golden pilsner beauty from within to create product shots unlike anything that's ever been seen before," according to a MillerCoors memo sent to employees and distributors.
The ads, according to the memo, are meant to "build on our foundation by making it clear what Miller Lite stands for when it comes to beer: Light beer should be great beer, and Miller Lite is uniquely qualified to deliver on that promise."
One spot, called "Snowflake," has a holiday theme and is meant to encourage American beer drinkers to "embrace their individuality, just as Miller Lite always has proudly stood apart from other light beers thanks to its strong pilsner roots," according to the brewer. Another spot seeks to "take a stand against the misconception that the only good beers are heavy beers." Other spots will spotlight the beer's taste and low carbs and calories.
MillerCoors CEO Tom Long foreshadowed the approach this fall at a distributor's meeting when he conceded that big light beer brands had stuck to their old playbook of lifestyle and humor, while faster-growing craft beers were "equating higher quality with stronger taste."
The retro packaging has spurred a comeback for Miller Lite, which had been in a years-long slump. In a recent report, trade publication Beer Marketer's Insights noted that Miller Lite was finishing 2014 with the best trend among the three big light beer brands, which include Bud Light and Coors Light. In the four weeks ending Nov. 30, Lite volume grew 4%, while Bud Light was flat and Coors Light fell 2%, according to IRI data cited by Beer Marketer's.