Sun Times Critic Gets Beery-Eyed Over The Lost Art Of Copywriting

Lewis Lazare: It’s almost enough to make a grown man weep for joy. We’re talking about the debut this week of a dramatically different ad campaign from trendsetting shop Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., for Miller High Life, known for many years as the champagne of bottled beers.
Miller High Life’s gloriously literate “Girl in the Moon” commercial is precisely the sign we’ve been awaiting. Claiming the juice had drained from the rather engaging Miller High Life campaign distinguished by the crusty old codger voiceover, Wieden + Kennedy is replacing him with someone far more exciting — someone who totally upends the conventional wisdom about what beer advertising should be.
Rather than delivering yet another beer execution with a painfully obvious male-focused point of view, the hauntingly beautiful “Girl in the Moon” spot comes at beer advertising from a decidedly female perspective, featuring, as it does, the famous girl in the moon on the Miller High Life bottle logo personified as the voiceover spokeswoman.
Beyond that startling departure from tradition, “Girl in the Moon” absolutely revels in the glory of words, a component of compelling advertising that had all but vanished in recent times.
This “Girl” is filled to overflowing with beautifully strung together, emotionally engaging verbal images that play off of, and exquisitely detail, the theme of the important and memorable moments — both good and bad — in one’s life. The way this commercial takes that theme and weds it to Miller High Life’s own 100-year history is a thrilling demonstration of the greatly under-appreciated art of copywriting.

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. Any idea where we can find a copy of the script?

  2. I saw one spot last night on Survivor. Fantastic. I rewound and watched it three times. It hits on the same kind of theme that the new Budweiser anthem (playing during NFL games) brings up. This brew is a part of our life. Something we share in good times and bad. This is echoed directly in the copy for High Life. “I want to share everything with you. Everything.” I loved the old High Life stuff, too. I would have told you I hoped they’d never move from that position. Now, they’re as far from it as they could be and I think I’ll drink High Life this weekend.

  3. What is the song in this commercial called…does anyone know?

  4. what is the name of the song in the commercial and who performs it. I know it is from a recent movie but i still cannot place it.

  5. Hey,
    I’m looking for that song also..I heard it as a movie theme also and never found it….

  6. It’s the main theme from “True Romance” by Hans Zimmer

  7. I believe it is by Erik Satie. I really dislike it when beautiful dramatic songs like this are used for crap like high life commericials. I’m a huge beer lover and constant high life drinker. Maybe not anymore now that I know about this stupid new commercial and the implications of the ad campaign.
    “The idea is…to create what consumers are to perceive as premium advertising for a subpremium beer.” “If High Life’s sales rebound, McLoughlin said, Miller could eventually reposition the beer back to its former role in the premium-price category”
    I perceive this advertising as laughable crap. I’ll definitely stop drinking it as soon as the price goes up. Although I’d always take a High Life over a Miller Lite…is it just me or is there zero alcohol in that crap. I drank like 20 one afternoon (only because some know nothing made the beer run) and I wasn’t even buzzed.

  8. the song is called “you’re so cool” is off the True Romance soundtrack. It’s weird how combining two things that I really like, High Life and that song, is so annoying to me. That commercial sucks and I hope they pull it soon.

  9. Brian,
    Thanks for tracking down the soundtrack.
    As for the spot sucking, all I can say is I used to do work that required me to use the Coors Light twins. I found it painful. So, any big brewer that wants to move away from that type of lowest common denominator crap wins my admiration and praise. If the beer is also good, which Miller High Life is, all the better.

  10. I don’t find commercials with the Coors Light twins to be painful. However, I hear what you’re saying. To me using this song is lowest common denominator crap as well because they’re using a universally appealing, beautiful song and in my opinion ruining the powerful sentiment that the song is intended to have by trying to sell beer with it. People have automatic physical reactions to songs like this one. And as they hear the song more and more, especially when associated with something as mundane as a beer ad, the effect wears off. I guess it’s better to degrade something that is abstract instead of women.

  11. High regards and admiration for this ad campaign, which does make me weep. The combination of slideshow, a familiar-although not immediately identifiable-song, and a woman’s voice is, pardon the pun, refreshing. As far as the complaints that the song is ripped off from “True Romance,” I’d just like to say that much of the throughline for those characters had to do with Starting Over, which, given the goals of High Life to re-invent itself from old-man dirty t-shirt beer to hip, literate, gen y-ers, then the use of this song, given the common theme of “starting over,” is wholly appropriate. I plan on drinking quite a few this afternoon. Great work.

  12. I have nothing to do with the advertising world, but I heard this song on the commercial and knew I had heard it somewhere before! I am grateful for your debate about the merits of the campaign, for it got me the name and composer of a song I have not been able to get out of my head for weeks!! Thank you advertising critics!! I know have the song!!

  13. I’m sorry, folks, but this is a positive response to the Miller’s new ad. Now, I’m not in advertising either, but I do happen to be a film student who sees a lot of crap put to film. Most even come with credits. However, there is always that 1% of quality work that manages to get my attention and admiration every now and then. And when I hear people actually criticizing that 1%, well, I can’t help but to drop a line of my own.
    The greatest goal any film can hope to achieve is to elicit a genuine emotion from its audience. This is true for features, shorts, documentaries or commercials. If it makes you laugh, it’s a winner. If it makes you cry, it’s a winner. Even if you laugh when you’re supposed to cry, it’s a winner. And this commercial, as far as I can see, is a model for any aspiring advertiser/filmmaker (why split hairs?). It is a perfect combination of sight and sound. Yes, it uses music from an earlier work, but let’s be honest—how many ads on television use completely original music? And out of those, how many are that memorable? In fact, it would have been considerably cheaper to write and record an original score than to use what they did. Incidentally, that “True Romance” piece was itself pilfered from Terrence Malick’s “Badlands”, which in turn, may have been from something else, so you’d better believe nothing is sacred. But the point is that it worked, just like the Beatles “Revolution” worked for that Nike ad from way back. Add to that those absolutely gorgeous images that, with the help of a little CGI, seem to almost ‘come back to life’, and we’ve got something far more than just a beer commercial: We’ve got feelings. Real feelings, folks. And not for the beer, but for life itself. Granted, there’s a hint of nationalistic propaganda scattered about, but it’s just subtle enough to be called ‘nostalgic’ and ‘romantic’. Besides, what is advertising if not propaganda anyway? Lastly, though, we’re hit with that haunting monologue. Believe me, it’s hard enough to keep a straight face writing things like ‘haunting monologue’ for the ‘champagne of beers’, but I just have to give credit where credit is due. There’s no other way to explain it but to call it synergy. It’s what happens when elements are mixed to create a sum greater than its parts. The images, the music, the voiceover—all absurdly manipulative when separated—seem to work together in this piece to make something truly worth remembering, or at least connecting with (see: buying into) for 90 seconds. Yes, it’s just a beer commercial, yes, we’re being manipulate, and yes, everything you see and hear are taken completely out of context, but I’ll tell you this: It beats the hell out of those crappy referee ads at the Miller Lite Camp. So lighten up, folks, and just try to remember what else is out there.

  14. Victoria Graham says:

    Does anyone know who the voiceover talent is? It sounds like Ellen Pompeo, but I’m sure it’s not.

  15. Charlie Walker says:

    I’m curious who the voice is as well. I found something at an ad-related site that lists everybody involved EXCEPT the woman who does the voice, so is it supposed to be some kind of secret?

  16. what about the saxaphone/vibrophone score w/the champagne tower of beer glasses who is playing?…it sounds an alwful like earl bostic but im not sure…anyone know?

  17. My wife says the voice=over is Ellen Pompeo, but I’m willing to bet it is Jennifer Finnegan (Close to Home, long-time soaps).
    – Chuck

  18. I looked up both Ellie Pompeo and Jennifer Finnegan. I’m betting on Ellie as being the girl on the moon, simply because Jennifer is from Montreal, and I have never heard any Canadian actor/anchor ever pronounce an O-word without giving themself away. Where as Ellie from Mass seems more likly.

  19. Joe Bayreaux says:

    I see what they are trying to accomplish in this Ad. What lost me was the “I’m the girl on the moon….” In my opinion, if “The Girl on the Moon” were spoken of in the third person- it would have a better impact on the target audience. But the final stab comes with “I want to share everything with you, everything.” The commercial was just plain cheesy. Just my 2 cents (+8.25% tax)

  20. Kim Petersen says:

    Our bet is that the voice is done by Hilary Swank. We thought it might be Ellen Pompeo until we heard the most recent spot. Anybody agree?

  21. The V/O is none of those people. I know this for a fact. She’s an unknown.

  22. The V/O is none of those people. I know this for a fact. She’s an unknown.