By law, advertisements for beer aren’t allowed to include references to the real reason we drink it: It’s chock-full of alcohol.
So what’s left to talk about? Traditional beer advertising has often taken a humorous or fantasy approach–and there has been some memorable work. But the form has been done, over and over, for years.
Maybe that’s why we like the new campaign for Miller High Life. It’s different. When you see the spots, the first thing you notice is they stand out. They get your attention. They’re weird. They’re simple. They’re funny. And probably most refreshing, they feel kind of honest. Of course, they can’t mention how good you’ll feel after downing three or four beers, but they can set up the rest of the scene.
One spot, “Burger,” opens as several greasy hunks of ground beef are fried on a diner stove. A waitress delivers the monstrous result to a waiting patron. It looks good, but something is wrong–until the waitress tops the whole thing off with a healthy dollop of butter. The voiceover states: “Something’s not quite right. There, now that’s a sandwich. And there’s only one beer that can stand up to a man’s meal. Right again. That’s living the High Life. That’s Miller Time.” We don’t eat like this, but we wish we did.
Another spot, “Duct Tape,” is an ode to the versatile adhesive tape (above, left). The VO states: “Even when a man has his tool box handy, isn’t it nice to turn to this all-purpose helper? The High Life man knows that if the pharaohs had duct tape, the Sphinx would still have a nose. We salute you, duct tape. You help a man to get to Miller Time.” If you like beer and respect duct tape, you’re our kind of people.
We beer men try to muddle through life doing what is expected of us. But in our heart of hearts, we know what we are. We’re simple. We like hardware stores. We like boats. We like eating fried chicken from a bucket. We can’t speak of its appeal to women, but this is the first beer campaign we can think of that is trying to attract a man’s attention and is not using some form of T&A to do it. We appreciate that.
The voiceover is well-cast and well-directed. The spots seem real. They feel like beer tastes. If you like beer, that’s a good thing. Maybe next time someone orders a merlot from Napa, we’ll order a beer from Milwaukee.
We also kind of like the new Snickers spot featuring Gheorghe Muresan (above, right). The campaign was a nice change for the category when it broke a few years ago. The spots have been entertaining. And we have to believe that more than a few Snickers have been sold to people waiting in line at the market who figure, “I’m not going anywhere for a while, I qualify.” You can argue the first work in this campaign was better, but this one is pretty funny. After a few years, it’s hard to keep even a good campaign fresh. This one is still going.
Beer and Snickers. That’s a meal to a High Life man.
Harry Cocciolo (top) is creative director and Sean Ehringer is head of art at Leagas Delaney in San Francisco. Their accounts include Adidas and Sebastiani Vineyards.