Ogilvy Spots Put Miller in the Game

CHICAGO Miller Brewing breaks football-themed TV spots from WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather this weekend that directly take on rival Anheuser-Busch.

The ads, three for Miller Lite and two for Miller Genuine Draft, are part of the “Good call” campaign. Executions feature a football referee who hurls a yellow flag into situations where red-labeled bottles of beer, closely resembling Budweiser and Bud Light, are being served. The ref penalizes the drinkers for infractions such as “illegal use of the brain,” “un-beermanlike conduct” and “incomplete beer.”

The client spends $250 million annually on ads, per Nielsen Media-Plus. Miller’s shift to football-themed ads had been expected [Adweek Online, Aug. 13].

One spot shows a bachelor returning to a couch with bottles of Bud for himself and his date. Both are startled when a referee pops on the scene and flags the guy for “roughing the palate,” serving a beer with less flavor. The ref corrects the infraction by replacing with smooth, cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft. He checks out the guy again and flags him for “noticeable unibrow.” “That’s a no second date penalty; still single; play beer,” the ref says.

A Miller Lite spot set on a beach starts with a boyfriend pulling Bud Lite bottles from a cooler. A referee throws the yellow flag at him for ineligible beer in cooler.” “Pulling a beer with less taste, very ‘unmacho.'” He replaces the Bud with a Miller Lite and then announces, “Disproportionately hot girlfriend. I will need further review.”

The topical series succeeds the election-themed “Miller for President,” and once again will drive the Miller Taste Challenge promotion at bars. Promotion teams dressed as referees donning whistles and yellow flags are aimed at entertaining patrons and opening the window to talk about Miller beers.

“There’s no better way to generate reconsideration than through experiential programming like the Miller Taste Challenge,” said Victor Rutstein, director of Miller trademark brand development.