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Vintage Miller Icon Revived In New Spot

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Using his feet to cheat a golf ball's lie in last year's campaign, the Miller High Life man—after 8 years and some 60 spots—may have seemed retired already. Now he really is: Wieden + Kennedy is replacing him with the 1907 vintage Miller girl-on-the-moon icon as a narrator in a 60-second spot premiering this week on Survivor, according to the brewer.

The icon-introducing spot was also cut to 30 and 90 seconds, and Miller was trying to buy a 90-second prime-time slot at press time. The spot will be followed by a full campaign celebrating famous historical moments and memorable personal ones. It uses subtly moving historical still frames for a View-Master 3D appearance. "I want to tell you everything I know, everything there is to savor," says the girl, restoring the brand's "champagne of beers" slogan and adding the tag, "Savor the High Life."

The agency cast an unknown for the voiceover, and won't personify her with animation or an actress, to preserve the "timeless quality" of the girl who has "been around since 1907 and seen everything," said Susan Hoffman, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland.

"It strikes a cord of authenticity," said High Life brand director Tom McLoughlin. "That's our belief on how to grow a heritage brand. We believe [the ad] carves out an emotional territory that invites them into the brand." McLoughlin wants the campaign to broaden the appeal to a younger, more female demo, while retaining the core older, blue-collar drinker.

McLoughlin said the Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing would "significantly increase spending" on the brand in the next year. A source estimated a 50 percent bump to introduce the Miller girl.

High Life dollar sales are down more than 4 percent on the year, per Information Resources Inc. Miller backed the brand with $12 million in ads last year and $5 million through July 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.