Iconic Ads: Miller Lite – Great Taste, Less Filling

The common misconception was that you couldn’t drink a light beer that tasted good.

In 1970 Philip Morris had bought Miller. And they intended to bring their muscle into the beer business

Coming off a miserable entrance into the low-calorie beer field, the Miller Brewing company needed its High Life brand to resonate. They turned to New York agency McCann-Erickson.

Another company Meister Brau relaunched one of its beers as Meister Brau Lite, targeting diet-conscious consumers. After Meister Brau went bankrupt in 1972, Miller swooped in for the sale of three of Meister Brau’s brands, including Meister Brau Lite.

In Anderson, Indiana where there were many steelworkers, the consumption of Meister Brau Lite was high. Research showed that drinkers found the beer to be less filling and they did not realise it was a light beer. And the taste was good!

The common misconception was that you couldn’t drink a light beer that tasted good.

McCann recommended that the competition had to be in the heavy beer drinker market. The light beer drinker market was very small then (practically non-existent).

Miller reformulated and rebranded the Meister Brau Lite beer as Miller Lite.

4- 5 commercials with the less filling aspect had been made. And when they were shown to the clients, they insisted that taste needed to be highlighted too. And there was a typical creative team vs account management argument.
“I drink it because it is less filling” Vs “I drink it because it tastes great”

Then art director Bob Lenz had the idea to get a retired athlete to endorse the lite beer in a commercial they shot at a bar in Manhattan. They hired former New York Jet Matt Snell, a 1969 “Super Bowl hero.” The famous line wasn’t even in the original script.

During the shoot, Snell originally said: “You know, new Lite Beer from Miller is all you ever wanted in a beer … and less.” Snell then went on to explain that Miller Lite had one-third fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular beer. Later, the wording about carbs was changed to simply say, “Less filling.”

Miller Lite took on the debate, and in every ad featured two manly idols declare, which was better – Great Taste, or Less Filling.

And with Miller Lite, the first-ever beer in the light category, you could have both!

The tagline became a crisper ‘Tastes Great – Less Filling’

The brand went on to cast its commercials almost entirely with athletes. The campaign skyrocketed and making way for the light beer category to eventually claim half of the market.

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