Miller Lite resurrects its eternal debate for a new generation - Brand Innovators

Miller Lite resurrects its eternal debate for a new generation

  • Miller Lite is resurrecting its classic “Tastes great. Less Filling” tagline for a new campaign featuring a roster of retired athletes, including J.J. Watt, David Ortiz, Jorge Posada, Reggie Miller and Mia Hamm. 
  • The first ad in the campaign, which began airing during the NCAA basketball tournament, features Watt struggling to keep himself busy in retirement until he receives a mysterious package containing a VHS tape of the old “Tastes Great. Less Filling.” campaign from 1975. The spot motivates Watt to become a Miller Lite All-Star. 
  • As part of the campaign, Miller Lite is dropping a set of “beer tapes” to get in on the debate. In the set, one is a playable VHS that includes a playable interactive experience along the campaign’s theme, and the other is a VHS-shaped novelty glass.

Great campaigns never die, they just come back 49 years later. Miller Lite debuted its “Great Taste. Less Filling.” campaign in 1975 featuring John Madden and other retired athletes, sparking a debate that has lasted for generations. As the campaign approached its 50th anniversary, the brand opted to bring it back.

“We are really proud of the fact that the original ads have been revered as some of the most memorable ads of all time. They are the right balance of star power, humor, product placement and good writing that made them stick in people’s minds,” said Ann Legan, vice president of marketing for Miller Family at Molson Coors. “We always knew we planned to bring it back at some point, but it was just a matter of when. With Miller Lite’s growth over the past few years, we decided now is the right time to capitalize on our momentum and reinvent this beloved campaign for the modern day.”

Following the initial ad that depicted Watt coming out of retirement to become a Miller Lite All-Star, the brand will begin airing a series of ads that will pay homage to the original series depicting beer lovers across the nation engaging in the timeless debate. As with the original, the campaign will be closely tied to sports.

“Because the original campaign started with sports, that’s where we wanted to start with the campaign refresh knowing that game time is one of those prime Miller Time moments people know and love,” Legan said. “When looking for the latest lineup of Miller Lite All Stars, we were in search of athletic icons, from a variety of sports, who know the true meaning of Miller Time. We searched for Miller fans who are also household names that have inspired generations in a way that truly fits the definition of an All-Star.”

Consumers looking to get their hands on the beer tapes can head to the nation’s last remaining Blockbuster video store in Bend, Oregon, on March 28, or they can enter a sweepstakes on Miller Lite’s social channels. The playable beer tape will include exclusive content as well as an opportunity to choose a side in the debate. The fact that the promo uses an outdated technology is part of the appeal, Legan said. 

“The fact that Beer Tapes require a real VCR makes them a bit of an exclusive experience for those diehard fans who really want to embrace the campaign with us,” she said. “Part of the joy of Beer Tapes is that only those who fully commit to the retro nature of Beer Tapes can enjoy the perks [that will include beer money and exclusive merchandise].”