Miller Lite is the latest brand trying to tap into social media addiction. But the brew is going further than most, making a plea for drinkers to unfollow it on Instagram and Facebook.
As part of a new campaign in which it plugs itself as “the original social media,” Miller Lite says it will give a free beer to people who prove they have unfollowed the brand by texting a screenshot to a designated number detailed at www.unfollowmillerlite.com. (Because of state alcohol regulations, not all consumers are eligible for the giveaways.)
The campaign by DDB Chicago includes a TV spot that dramatizes the “follow” culture by showing two men and one woman being chased in real life by packs of people, including some armed with annoying selfie-sticks. The spot, shot in black-and-white, ends with the people finding a safe haven in a bar, with the kicker: “A few friends are better than a few thousand followers. Here’s to the original social media.”
Miller Lite, which has 119,000 Instagram followers and just over 2 million on Facebook, will also go “dark” on social media, taking a two-week break from posting there. In a news release, the brand says the effort is a way to reimagine its classic “It’s Miller Time” slogan.
“We know that today’s generation of new drinkers will spend more than five years of their lifetime on social media, and yet are only meeting up with their close friends less than a few times a month,” Anup Shah, VP of the Miller family of brands, stated, referencing data from a study the brand commissioned from YouGov. “By reintroducing Miller Time, we want to remind them that while social media is great, it’s no replacement for hanging out in-person over a Miller Lite.”
Miller Lite’s ad marks a significant creative pivot for the brand, which had been running ads under the “Hold True” tagline that emphasized product attributes, like its low-calorie count. The new campaign is the latest move by MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Michelle St. Jacques, who assumed the role earlier this year, to shift the brewer’s advertising into more newsy terrain by tapping into cultural trends.
Miller Lite is now following the same playbook as multiple other brands that have attempted to stand out by making a statement against social media addiction.On Monday, HP debuted a campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners that warns against digital addiction by highlighting facial filters, emoji conversations and other digital distortions that have replaced real conversation.
Last year, Coca-Cola Co.’s Vitaminwater ran a contest encouraging consumers to give up their smartphones for a year to win $100,000. Stella Artois, meanwhile, imagined a bar where no one used a phone, with an ad last year that began a new tagline, "Joie de Bière," which amounts to a bar-friendly twist on the French phrase "joie de vivre" that means joy of living.
Of course, marketers continue to spend billions of dollars on digital advertising, so most brands don’t seem to be putting their money where their mouths are.