180LA, Miller Lite Slam Some Buds in Aggressive New Launch Spot

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in April, MillerCoors surprised a few in the agency world by moving lead creative duties for Miller Lite from TBWA\Chiat\Day to 180LA without a review and effectively trusting a different shop with its top brand.

180’s first work for the client is quite similar to TBWA’s, sticking with the “spelled different because it’s brewed different” line from recent ads celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary. Those spots marked a bit of a departure from TBWA’s debut “Wonderful World” ads, which focused on keeping things positive.

“We Ask” debuts on teevee in October but ran in AdAge today, and it is the most direct challenge to Bud in recent memory. Great taste or less filling? Miller claims to be both.

We’re not quite sure exactly when the account changed hands, but this spot is in keeping with others that followed TBWA’s most recently publicized work, which ran about 6 months ago.

It’s all about listing the beer’s features in a sort of auto ad style. Here, for example, is “Tattoo,” which comes at you from deep within Flavor Country.

Speaking as consumers, we find it a little odd that Miller Lite is pushing taste as its big selling point, especially since the brand and Bud are competing for a shrinking (but still quite significant) share of drinkers who haven’t departed for more artisanal pastures.

According to AdAge and CMO David Kroll, MillerCoors will reveal its larger strategy to distributors in Chicago today. SPOILER: that strategy is attack. And the attack will come on two fronts: Bud Light as a party brand for everybody (the Seth Rogen/Amy Schumer ads) and the recent NFL tie-in team cans thing. Someone “leaked” Kroll’s comments, in which he accuses Bud Light — and, by extension, Wieden + Kennedy — of sticking with “its old approach of hiding behind sophomoric humor.”

We could note that this sentence would apply to a vast majority of brands that advertising on TV, but we’ll let it go.

So the message is: Our beer tastes better and has half the carbs. Here’s AB InBev’s response:

“We are proud that Bud Light continues to be the most popular beer in America. However, we are never complacent and we continue to work hard to give our consumers the crisp, refreshing taste they prefer, and maintain our No. 1 spot. We just launched our new NFL team cans and are excited for the NFL season.”

Looks like we have a cat fight on our hands, people.

Here are a couple of other spots that aired over the summer as a sort of precursor to this new direction.

It’s a tough job, but some agency has to do it.