Crispin’s Miller Finale Intros ‘Commish’

NEW YORK Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s final campaign for Miller Lite introduces the More Taste League, chaired by a character called the Commish, portrayed by John C. McGinley, known for his sarcastic character Dr. Perry Cox from the NBC sitcom Scrubs.

There are five 30-second TV spots and three 30-second radio ads in the effort that launched this week. It is expected to air until the end of football season. Also in the mix: point of sale, out of home, bar collateral and—in the coming weeks—interactive elements.

Crispin’s contribution consisted of the TV and radio ads. Miller’s other agencies—Starcom, Upshot and Arc—are responsible for additional elements of the campaign.

In “Interception,” McGinley, catches a non-Miller Lite bottle that one beer-drinking buddy is attempting to toss to another. A podium, women dressed as referees and a large backdrop emblazoned with the words “More Taste League” suddenly appear. As McGinley lightly chastises his pals for drinking “non-sanctioned light beer,” they realize the error of their ways. When they ask which beers are sanctioned, McGinley replies in his trademark faintly exasperated (and sarcastic) tone, “Beer. Singular. Miller Lite.”

Crispin and Miller parted ways earlier this year. The first work from Miller Lite’s new agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, is expected to debut in October.

“This is a way to speak competitively and compellingly with the surrounding media of NFL games. He [the Commish character] is like the [ex-NFL commissioner] Paul Tagliabue of beer. To the layman, a commissioner is known for penalizing people, kicking them back into line and handing down fines,” said Tim Roper, cd, Crispin. “Obviously we didn’t want him to be mean, but people are in awe of him. We wanted to evolve from referees throwing flags.”

Ogilvy & Mather introduced a referee who threw penalty flags at beer drinkers for a variety of offenses, such as ordering Bud Light instead of Miller Lite when it had the account in 2004.

“We wanted to take the best of that work and make it fresh for contemporary times,” said Deb Boyda, the Chicago-based vp, content at Miller, which is headquartered in Milwaukee. Referring to consumer reaction to the new spots during testing, Boyda said: “There was positive reaction from a tonal standpoint to the sly wit and twinkle in the eye as the message was delivered.”

The spots walk the line between being humorous and informative about the carbohydrate count in Miller Lite (3.2 grams if you’re wondering) by having McGinley deliver the data in his patented way. “Our hunch all along is that people don’t sit around having a conversation about the levels of carbs in their beer. We like to think this is a fun way to get the information,” said Roper.

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