Miller High Life reunites with famed director Errol Morris on new slate of ads

How do you produce compelling new work while much of the nation is under stay-at-home orders? Call old friend Errol Morris.

Seeking to build a new ad campaign that resonated with drinkers during the peculiarities associated with the global pandemic, Miller High Life rekindled its relationship with the famed award-winning documentarian on a new ad campaign shot entirely from Morris’ home outside of Boston.

The resulting spots, a collaboration with agency Adam & Eve DDB, will air on TV, streaming services and digital channels starting today and continuing through summer. They will be familiar to anyone who remembers the 100-plus ads Morris shot for the brand between 1998 and 2005 that celebrated “The High Life Man.”

The six new 15-second spots pick up where the old ads left off. But instead of depicting the virtues of the underappreciated everyman, the new work is centered on celebrating every small win in the time of COVID-19, such as cutting your own hair or building the perfect beer pyramid with Miller High Life’s new Champagne coupe cans.

“We saw this as a unique opportunity to bring some optimism and levity into drinkers’ lives, and show that even during a lockdown, people can celebrate the small wins that can happen every day with the Champagne of Beers,” says Nigel Jones, marketing manager for Miller High Life. “These new spots tap into the visual style that helped define what Miller High Life meant to a generation of our fans with an updated message that will appeal to this generation.”



Morris, known for the films The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War, has said he considers the spots he shot for Miller High Life in the late 1990s and early 2000s his “most impressive achievement,” and he still features them on his website. The new spots are reminiscent of that work, filmed in Morris’ signature style using lingering shots, unique framing and pithy voiceovers.

Featuring Morris’ son, his son’s friend and his longtime director of photography — with whom Morris is quarantining — all of the spots were shot shots took place in his home in Cambridge, Mass. They feature cameos of his front porch, his grill, his hair clippers and plenty of Miller High Life.

“At the start, the question was, ‘Can we even pull this off?” Jones says. “But Errol found a way to make it work, and it’s awesome. It’s a testament to him as a filmmaker and director that the production quality we saw – even under these limitations – is amazing.”

The new campaign hits as the brand is amid a resurgence, helped by a movement of consumers back to trusted brands and large pack sizes amid the pandemic. It’s now up 1.3% in dollar sales year-to-date through May 9, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data. And over the most-recent four weeks, it’s performance is even better, up 4.4%.

“We’re happy with our performance,” Jones says, “and we hope to continue to build on the positive signs we’ve seen over the last couple of months as people rethink the tried-and-true brands they want to support.”