Miller “The 1-Second Ad”

If brevity is the soul of wit, you can’t get much wittier than a one-second commercial — especially if you save the better part of $3 million in the process. That’s what Miller High Life (via agency Saatchi & Saatchi, New York) will be doing on the Super Bowl telecast: buying a one-second spot on local market NBC affiliates that cover much of the country.

The spot shown here — 30 times as long as the one viewers will see on game day — exuberantly sets the stage for that one-second effort and promotes a Web site.

It’s a shrewd way of amplifying the populist theme that has characterized the brand’s “deliveryman” spots. That motif was engaging enough when the economy was in comparatively decent shape. The subsequent downturn has given it even more resonance. And the deliveryman’s pointed ridicule of the notion of paying $3 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl time in the middle of a recession is a natural elaboration of the theme.

Will it leave some viewers wondering whether a certain rival brewer (whose initials are “A-B”) is spending so much on full-length Super Bowl spots that it must raise its prices or water down its beer to cover the expense? Stranger things have happened. If nothing else, Miller’s effort implicitly challenges Budweiser’s bona fides as a beer for the common man. –Mark Dolliver