Miller Lite: The Thinking Man’s Beer

ATLANTA Miller Lite this week began rolling out television spots from Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The effort abandons the innuendo and machismo of the beer-commercial genre for a slightly more thoughtful (if self-consciously low-brow) approach.

In the ads, men sit around a table and discuss manly issues, such as how long to wait before dating a friend’s ex-girlfriend and if the high-five is still cool.

“What you are about to see is real,” the voiceover states at the beginning of the first spot of the campaign. “A rare glimpse into an ancient order of men, cloaked in secrecy for over 800 years. They meet behind closed doors and soundproof glass. They write the unwritten rules, rules all men live by.”

“They answer the questions all men ponder,” the narrator continues. In a tribute to enduring Miller slogans, the voiceover adds, “They decide on good taste. They make the good call.”

The men in the ads include Jerome Bettis, a former National Football League running back; Aron Ralston, a mountaineer who amputated his own arm with a pocketknife after being trapped under a boulder; Triple H, a professional wrestler; and Ty Murray, a professional bull rider. Actor Burt Reynolds serves as the moderator of the discussion. (Part of the joke, of course, is that all are known for their macho attitudes.)

There are eight TV spots in all, mixing 30- and 60-second executions.

The campaign includes a Web site, www.manlaws.com, which launches on May 15 and allows consumers to vote on future “man law” issues. Similarly themed outdoor executions and a coffee table book are also in the mix.

“We are trying to reignite Lite and get it back to its DNA,” said Alex Bogusky, executive creative director at MDC Partners’ CP+B in Miami.

Because beer is closely linked to male socialization, the agency wanted to use that connection to reach male drinkers, Bogusky said. “We are trying to take thought leadership of the category,” he said. “The ads are characteristic of what it means to be a guy. We have a lot of unwritten rules.”