business news in context, analysis with attitude

Both on MNB and elsewhere, a new Miller Lite TV commercial has been getting a lot of attention…some of it negative. Miller Brewing is catching heat from some viewers upset about the ad, which features two beautiful women arguing about whether Miller Lite is best because it tastes great or is less filling…an argument that deteriorates into a mud wrestling match in which they end up stripped down to scanty lingerie. The ad is positioned as a put-on…it actually is the imaginings of two guys who can’t imagine a better beer ad, while two women stare at them as if they are the biggest morons on the planet.

Since first writing about this commercial a couple of weeks ago, we’ve heard from members of the MNB community from both sides of the fence -- people who were offended by the ad, and people who found it funny.

To get a better sense of consumer sentiment, and MNB conducted a consumer poll on the site, asking consumers if they were aware of the ad and what they thought of it. Though not a random survey, the results nonetheless are interesting:

  • Sixty-five percent of the respondents were women, and 87 percent of the total respondents had seen the ad…suggesting that Miller certainly has been successful in getting visibility.

  • Asked whether they were offended by the commercial, 48 percent of respondents said they liked the ad, and an equal number of people said they didn’t like it…with the balance saying they found it confusing. If we were Miller, we’d be pretty happy with a 50-50 split, and we wouldn’t worry about the few obviously humorless people who didn’t get the joke. The commercial both provoked strong feelings and, in our experience, had people remembering which beer the ad was for. You can’t beat that combination.

  • Finally, we asked our consumer respondents if they felt TV commercials in general went too far in portraying sexual content or activity, and six out of ten said yes. That’s something for marketers to be aware of and sensitive to. Consumers likely can only be titillated so far, and no farther.

KC's View:
We think the big difference between the Miller commercial and a lot of others is that it’s done with a wink, a smile, and a leer…as opposed to just a leer. That’s what makes it acceptable.

And by the way, you should check out the new and improved -- it has tons of new features, polls and information, all key to understanding the concerns and priorities of the modern consumer.