In the years before Anheuser-Busch became the Super Bowl's exclusive beer sponsor in 1988, Miller Brewing visited the game with ads such as this Miller Lite spot via Backer & Spielvogel.
Miller Lite, a reformulation of Meister Brau Lite introduced in 1975 and promoted in 1979's Super Bowl XIII ("Famous Ex-Quarterbacks"), was still the No. 1 low-calorie beer in the United States at the time of Super Bowl XIX. But it faced a growing challenge from Bud Light, which Anheuser-Busch rolled out to answer in 1982 (following an initial counter-strike with Natural Light). Among other advantages, Bud Light was able to go after consumers who were already sold on the idea of a low-calorie beer -- "courtesy," as noted later in an Ad Age Encyclopedia entry, "of Miller's earlier advertising." It's almost as if Miller Lite "don't get go respect," as Dangerfield would put it. Bud Light was itself also in the 1985 game with an ad from the campaign fighting the rise of "Miller Lite" as the generic term for light beer ("Give Me a Light").
Here Dangerfield also makes the classic Miller Lite argument, originally conceived to recruit beer drinkers to its then-novel category: It tastes great and it's less filling. (Ad Age later named "Tastes great, less filling," conceived at McCann-Erickson when Bill Backer and Carl Spielvogel worked there, the eighth-best campaign of the 20th century.) The comic was one of many celebrities enlisted for a group dubbed the Lite All Stars, which also included Baseball Hall of Fame member Mickey Mantle, former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier, former Celtics coach Red Auerbach, former Yankees manager Billy Martin, mystery writer Mickey Spillane and Super Bowl-winning Raiders coach John Madden, who appeared in Miller Lite's big-game spot in 1984 ("Train"). Many of the ads were directed by Bob Giraldi.
BRAND: Miller Lite
AGENCY: Backer & Spielvogel