Miller Lite continues to celebrate macho light beer drinkers in five new ads, which debuted this week as part of the brand's "Taste Greatness" campaign.
Created by Draftfcb, in partnership with production company Tool of North America, the humorous spots stress the importance of taste when it comes to light beer. In one ad, titled "Carry-All," a man walks up to a female bartender and orders a nameless light brew. The woman tells him to lose the purse he's wearing and come back for a Miller Lite.
In a spot called "Skirt," another female bartender tells a man to "take off his skirt" when he refuses a Miller Lite since he doesn't care how it tastes. The voiceover says: "Man up, because if you're drinking a light beer without great pilsner taste, you're missing the point of drinking beer."
The new ads in the campaign are inline with previous ads, which equated Miller Lite with masculinity and great taste. But they come at a tough time for the beer industry, as consumers trade down to lower end beer brands like Keystone Light, said Benj Steinman, publisher and editor of Beer Marketer's Insights.
"It's been a challenge for premium light beers with the economic woes. Consumers have been trading down. Over the past two years, Miller Lite lost almost 10% of its volume from the peak," said Steinman.
According to Beer Marketer's Insights, Miller Lite sold 16.5 million barrels in 2009, down 6.6% from 2008 when it sold 17.7 million barrels. Steinman added: "Even this year Miller Lite isn't performing well. Keystone Light is the industry's hottest beer in terms of barrels gained. So there's an urgency to grow Miller Lite for [parent company] MillerCoors."
Ads targeting male drinkers are only a fraction of the strategy. MillerCoors is also introducing product innovations
that it hopes will give consumers another incentive to drink Miller. Among those innovations is Miller Vortex, a bottle with interior grooves that creates a vortex as the beer is poured. The product began hitting shelves last month.
MillerCoors spent $142 million advertising Miller Lite in 2009, up from 2008, when it spent $138 million, excluding online, per the Nielsen Co. The brand spent $24 million on ads Jan. through Feb. of this year.