Miller Lite Takes on Illegal NFL Streaming by Creating a ‘Cantenna’ for Cord-Cutters

The beer brand wants to stop you from relying on shady Russian sites on Football Sunday

The Miller Lite "Cantenna" will be awarded to lucky giveaway participants from now until Oct. 12. Miller Lite

In case you haven’t heard: football’s back, but it’s likely that fans won’t be able to catch kickoff in-person any time soon during this historic (and bizarre) 101st season of the NFL. In many states, fans won’t even be able to enjoy a brewski at the bar with their usual gameday crew, leaving most with no other choice but to view their beloved fantasy draft picks on a screen.

So, what’s a fan going to do in desperation if they, like so many Americans, don’t have access to expensive methods to stream live sports? Miller Lite thinks that they’re probably going to feel compelled to watch a pixelated and virus-ridden stream from a shady Russian site.

In fact, Miller Lite has come up with a whole doomsday scenario for fans who dare to view illegal streams in a three-and-a-half-minute country music spot, wherein a copyright-infringing protagonist gets screwed over by the law and ends up with jail time and lifelong regret. Thankfully, the light beer brand has concocted a solution for the hyperbolic destiny of suffering that awaits the illegal stream: a Cantenna.

The Cantenna, part-Miller Lite beer can, part-digital antenna, is a fully functional and 100% real electronic product that you can hook up to your television to pick up over-the-air broadcasts. “Streaming live sports can get frustrating and expensive and if cord-cutters want to watch football, they’re often forced to resort to sketchy, unreliable, illegal streaming,” said Stephanie Clanfield, associate marketing manager, Miller Lite, in a statement. During the pandemic, cord-cutting has been on the rise—according to an August report from digital media player Roku, nearly one in three U.S. households do not have traditional pay TV, and 30% of those surveyed cited the loss of live sports as their primary reason for canceling their cable services. “Miller Lite is determined to bring you smooth streaming and make your Miller Time a little easier with the new Miller Lite Cantenna,” Clanfield added.

The Cantenna was launched tonight during the Cowboys versus Rams game with an integrated, robust 360 marketing campaign that is being deployed across paid, owned, and organic media, as well as influencers and traditional media relations. Celebrity influencers tapped to promote the product, which was created in partnership with Webby award-winning production company m ss ng p eces, include a mix of recently retired NFL players: Chris Long, Kyle Long, and Zach Miller.

“The Cantenna is a head-turner on its own, but we didn’t want to stop there,” Clanfield said, “in order to really disrupt cord-cutters we couldn’t rely on typical marketing tactics, instead we chose an unconventional approach to serve them up something unforgettable during a time when they were the most engaged.” The full-length music video and spot, a parody to the legendary Sunday Primetime song that features the product while cautioning about illegal streaming, was created in partnership with Miller Lite’s creative agency, DDB Chicago and DDB San Francisco. Other spots flooding Miller Lite’s socials throughout the game include a 15-second (nonmusical) product spot and a 15-second teaser for the music video.

Sofia Colucci, global vp of Miller Family of Brands, told Adweek that the pandemic has forced the beverage manufacturer to rethink its entire year. “Everything we’ve done has to strike the right tone,” she said. “At the start of the pandemic, the first thing we did was launch the Virtual Tip Jar to give relief to restaurants and bartenders. We donated an initial one million dollars and continued to promote it through virtual activations, like our livestream show with country artist Luke Combs.” Other PR and marketing campaigns that Miller Lite has pushed during Covid-19 included giving consumers who lived in a U.S. city named after a country free beer on International Beer Day (on August 6), and creating a bookable vacation home “straight out of 1975” in collaboration with, the Miller Timeshare.

@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.