By Barry Janoff
September 10, 2015: Miller Lite left its mark in marketing and beer sales history with a series of iconic TV spots in the 1970s and 1980s under the theme, "Great Taste-Less Filling" (and revived for a time in 2008) that featured sports legends and celebrities.
The brand is tapping into their creative history with a new spot that features Troy Aikman, former quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys and current NFL analyst and commentator.
Perhaps not so ironically, Aikman in the spot admits to "dwelling in the past" regarding his former pro career, which included 165 career touchdowns, 32,942 yards passing, three Super Bowl wins (XXVII and MVP, XXVIII and XXX) and induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
The commercial is part of Miller Lite's campaign centered around a bodega run by Fred, described as "half store clerk, half sage," who gives advice and usually encourages customers to be themselves, somehow then associated to buying the product.
In one spot, a guy sings "Karaoke" after being asked to do so by Fred. In another, "Advice," Fred suggests to a woman customer that she bring Miller Lite (her preferred choice) to a Chardonnay party. In a third, Fred downgrades his suggestions to a woman in the bodega looking for a "Last Minute Gift" from a case of Miller Lite to a 12-pack to a six-pack as the woman's description of her acquaintance slips from friend to "frenemy." (He ultimately tells her to keep five of the bottles and give away just one.)
Lead agency is TBWA\Chiat\Day LA.
The union between Aikman and Miller Lite is relatively organic. The Miller Lite Plaza and Miller Lite Club are located in AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and the brand is the team's exclusive beer partner through 2020.
In his spot, Aikman goes into Fred's bodega to buy Miller Lite when another customer, wearing Aikman's No. 8 Dallas Cowboys jersey, recognizes him. "I'm a huge fan," the guy says to Aikman. "All the touchdowns, the wins, the passes."
"You know, I don't like to dwell in the past," says Aikman. "But thank you."
Just then, Aikman's cell phone buzzes. The ring tone is an old play-by-play announcer. "Aikman, touchdown! Unbelievable! Airman, touchdown! Unbelievable," it repeats over and over.
"I dwell in the past," admits Aikman.
"I would, too," says Fred.
"I don't blame you," says the fan.
"Okay," smiles Aikman, followed by the tag line, "As long as you are you, it's Miller Time." (See the full commercial here.)
The Great Taste-Less Filling spots featured the likes of Joe Frazier, Yogi Berra, Dick Butkus, Boog Powell, Bob Uecker, Bubba Smith, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, politician Tip O'Neill and author Mickey Spillane.