Shooting For The Moon

New York Times: Miller High Life, which since 1997 has been sold with a series of humorous commercials centered on a sardonic, sometimes crotchety advertising character who views the world from a distinctly male perspective. Beginning next week, the “High Life Man” campaign will give way to spots featuring a female figuratively and literally out of this world: the “Girl in the Moon” character who has symbolized High Life on packages, signs and ads since 1907, four years after the brand was introduced.
The moon maiden, believed to have been inspired by a Miller family daughter, granddaughter or goddaughter, is to be brought to life to narrate commercials that are 30, 60 and 90 seconds long, to be followed by online and retail ads. The spots, by the longtime High Life agency, Wieden & Kennedy, take a highly unusual tack for mainstream beer advertising.
Rather than adopting a hard-sell approach dominated by frat-boy humor, patriotic paeans or sex appeal, the commercials are warm, emotional, at times almost elegiac, thanks to the character’s throaty narration, backed by the haunting music of Erik Satie.
While the “High Life Man” was primarily aimed at men ages 35 and up, the “Girl in the Moon” is intended to also resonate with men and women ages 21 to 34. They may not be as familiar with High Life as their fathers or grandfathers, but they are proving amenable to drinking brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon that compete against High Life. Such brands are finding new favor as part of a consumer trend called retro-chic.
In addition to the potential appeal to women and younger consumers, the commercials are almost sure to appeal to cinéastes because in using a female narrator, the music of Satie and nostalgic images, they are strongly reminiscent of the 1973 film “Badlands” by the director Terrence Malick.

About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.