High Life For Men Again (Distributors Breathe Easy)

When I used to work on a big beer account, I was never comfortable with our need to target beer distributors first and consumers second. The thinking was no floor space means no beer sales, which does make sense despite being counter-intuitive for a creative. At any rate, beer distributors have a huge say when it comes to critiquing brand advertising.
According to Ad Age, Miller distributors are pleased with new Miller High Life spots from Crispin.

In the first work on the brand from Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, Miller High Life is thumbing its nose at its ill-conceived attempt to metrosexualize the beer and trying to reclaim the blue-collar positioning it owned with the much-celebrated, gruff-talking High Life Man it ditched for a classier approach starring the Girl in the Moon label icon.
Still-in-development spots shown to the brewer’s distributors at regional meetings last week seem to repudiate the disowned direction, showing Miller delivery drivers forcibly removing High Life from trendy, upscale restaurants and nightclubs. The scenes strike a creative chord not seen since Miller scrapped Wieden & Kennedy’s 1950s-era manly man for the fussier, feminine push. Sales cratered with the Girl in the Moon ads and lessons apparently were learned.
“I don’t know what the hell they were thinking,” said one Southern distributor who was happy to see the new creative effort.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. That’s irritating. They make their old agency do shitty work and then penalize them for it.

  2. I loved the “Girl in the Moon” spots from Wieden (so much so I actually downed a few High Life’s in response), but I’m a sucker for arty work of that ilk.

  3. Ray Manducci says:

    While the distributors may be “pleased” with Crispin’s campaign for Miller High Life, one wonders how they feel about the agency’s lackluster work for Miller Lite.
    Quoting from the very same “Ad Age” article:
    “Crispin’s higher-profile work for flagship brand Miller Lite is garnering far more scrutiny these days, as weak sales trends prompt questions about whether the agency’s ‘Men of the Square Table’ campaign is as good at selling beer as it is at generating buzz.
    “While the brewer is sticking with the campaign — though it will talk more about the beer’s attributes going forward — it is clearly aware that early returns aren’t good. According to Miller’s corporate blog, CEO Tom Long listed the brewery’s top three priorities as ‘Miller Lite, Miller Lite and Miller Lite,’ and vowed to increase media spending on the brand.
    “‘We know Miller Lite went soft over the summer,’ Mr. Long was quoted as saying to distributors. ‘And we’re more dissatisfied with the volume results than you are because we know in our guts that Miller Lite is a true flagship brand, and we believe it should grow every year, every month, every week and every single day.'”