Miller Lite Brings Back Classic John Madden Ad

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Miller Lite is bringing John Madden back -- but only for a limited time. During Thursday night's NFL game, Lite will restore and re-air a classic spot featuring the former NFL coach and broadcasting star. Here is the original commercial, which aired in the early 1980s:

MillerCoors brought the ad back as a way to plug Lite's original "Steinie" bottle, which the brewer is returning to store shelves. "The one-time throwback spot complements an already robust Steinie support plan inclusive of social, digital, print, out-of-home and new Steinie-centric holiday TV," MillerCoors stated in a note to distributors this week. The ad, originally done by Backer Spielvogel Bates, will air in its original form except for a new tag at the end stating "the original light beer back in its original bottle," according to a version of the spot shared with wholesalers. The new version (below) also does not include Mr. Madden busting through a poster as he did in the original.

The re-airing follows another retro play MillerCoors made last year with its Miller High Life brand, which in December re-ran classic "High Life Man" spots in select markets. Those ads originally ran from 1999 to 2004 and featured a plainspeaking everyman who pondered topics like the fact that "beef" and "beer" have only one letter different.

Miller Lite, which was first sold in 1975, has been using its marketing to promote its status as the first mainstream light beer. The brew was originally propelled by an ingenious tagline -- "Great Taste, Less Filling" -- and marketing that featured ex-jocks dubbed the "Miller Lite All Stars."

But the brief return of the Madden ad is not a signal that the brew is bringing back the All Stars, according to a MillerCoors spokesman. Indeed, the brew has recently purposely shied away from celebrity advertising as a way to differentiate itself from Bud Light, which has used a multitude of stars in ads lately, including Lady Gaga, Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer. Lite's new approach plugs the brew as having "more taste and half the carbs" of Bud Light.

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