Miller Lite Hits the Bodega for Indie-Style Ads About Neighborhood Characters

And they all want the same thing

Silver Man—a dude in a top hat and glasses, every inch of him coated in silver paint—really shines in TBWA\Chiat\Day's new campaign for Miller Lite.

But he's just one of many characters, oddball and otherwise, who visit a typical neighborhood bodega to pick up some suds and chat with wise, friendly Fred, the bilingual owner of the store. Other customers include a pair of muscular twins who say the same things at the same time; One Tripper (he doesn't need help, dammit, toting a mountain of snacks and brewskies out the door); and a karaoke singer whose rendition of "Carry On Wayward Son" doesn't quite match the sonic impact of the original.

Tagged "As long as you are you, it's Miller Time," the campaign includes ads in English and Spanish, targeting millennial and Hispanic audiences at a time when craft brews have eroded the sales of big-name beers. These eight spots have a relaxed, indie-film feel, inspired by the convenience-store settings in movies by Jim Jarmusch and the team of Wayne Wang and Paul Auster.

"The market seems to be rich with plenty of, let's just say, less subtle beer advertising," Arts & Sciences director Matt Aselton tells Fast Company, "so it seemed like a nice way of telling personal stories and not jock-rock archetypal stories. It's like Sesame Street—the people in your neighborhood—except with a light beer."

In real life, all sorts of people drop in and out of bodegas, so "anything is possible," says Aselton. This makes the stream of strange customers in the commercials seem plausible, with the low-key and slightly askew humor hitting home every time. (The Silver Man, presumably a street performer, is a highlight, particularly when he's joined by a glittery sidekick for an impromptu pose-down.)

Through it all, Fred serves as a calm, all-knowing foil, doling out advice and yakking it up with the clientele. Smartly underplayed by Eastbound & Down actor Marco Rodriguez, he keeps the proceedings firmly centered. The Silver Men may steal the show, but Fred is pure gold, one of the most welcome pitch characters to hit screens in recent memory.


Client: Miller Lite

Campaign: "Bodega"

Chief Marketing Officer: Andy England

Vice President, Brand Marketing, Miller Family of Brands: Gannon Jones

Senior Director, Miller Family of Brands: Ryan Reis

Director, Miller Lite: Greg Butler

Senior Marketing Manager, Miller Lite: Jeanne-­ette Boshoff

Marketing Manager, Miller Lite Multicultural: Julia Watson

Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day

Chief Creative Officer: Stephen Butler

Executive Creative Director: Fabio Costa

Mark Peters: Creative Director

Creative Directors: Jason Karley, Rick Utzinger, Bob Rayburn, Matthew Woodhams-Roberts, David Horton, Harris Wilkinson

Senior Art Directors: Jeff Dryer, Chris Rodriguez

Senior Copywriter: Guy Helm

Art Director: John Stobie

Director of Production: Brian O'Rourke

Executive Producer: Anh-­Thu Le

Producer: Stephanie Dziczek

Business Lead: Jill Nykoliation

Group Account Director: Chris Hunter

Group Planning Director: Scott McMaster

Account Director: Bryan Reugebrink

Project Manager: Alice Pavlisko

Business Affairs Director: Linda Daubson

Business Affairs Managers: Nora Cicuto, Dorn Reppert

Traffic Operations Director: Dessiah Maxwell

Senior Traffic Operations Manager: Judy Brill

Agency: Team Ignition

Senior Art Director: Erick Rodriguez

Senior Copywriter: Raul Mendez

Account Director: Giovanni Chiappardi

Account Planner: Elsa Gonzalez

Production Company: Arts & Sciences

Directgor: Matt Aselton

Managing Director, Partner: Mal Ward

Executive Producer, Managing Partner: Marc Marrie

Producer: Zoe Odlum

Director of Photography: Sal Totino

Production Designer: David Wilson

Editing Company: Spot Welders

Editors: Haines Hall, Kevin Zimmerman, J.C. Nunez, Oli Hecks

Executive Producer: Carolina Sanborn

Producer: Evan Cunningham

Visual Effects: MPC

Executive Producer: Karen Anderson

Producer: Abisayo Adejare

Colorist: Mark Gethin

Visual Effects Lead: Mark Holden

Visual Effects: Benji Davidson, Dylan Brown, William Cox, Sandra Ross

Music Supervision: Good Ear Music Supervision

Sound Effects: Barking Owl

Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi

Creative Director: Kelly Bayett

Head of Production: Whitney Fromholtz

Mixing: Lime Studios

Mixer: Mark Meyuhas

Assistant Mixer: Matt Miller:

Executive Producer: Jessica Locke

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.