Miller Lite launches revived and reimagined 'It’s Miller Time' campaign

Five and a half years. That’s the amount of time today’s generation of legal-age drinkers will spend scrolling through social media feeds during their lifetime. 

That figure is staggering, says Courtney Benedict, marketing director of the Miller family of brands. The brand’s argument? Friends need to get back to prioritizing in-person connections, preferably over a beer. In other words, it’s time to bring back Miller Time.

As part of a new campaign launching today, Miller Lite is bringing back its familiar slogan, but with an updated meaning designed to resonate with today’s generation of legal-age drinkers: “It’s when you’re being yourself, with your good friends and connecting over a Miller Lite. In other words, Miller Time is the original social media,” Benedict says.

Before social media was invented, getting together with real friends over beer “was the original social media,” Benedict says. “Today’s drinkers are absorbed in their smartphones. They have friends online with whom they’ve never shared a beer, and they spend too much time watching other peoples’ lives online instead of living their own.”

And Miller Time is the perfect antidote to a life spent online. The sentiment is laid bare in a new, poignant tagline that’s used in a new round of TV spots that begin running this week, “a few friends are better than a few thousand followers.”

The first spot, "Followers," is slated to debut during Game 1 of the World Series.

The spot, which depicts a dystopian world in which social media followers form packs and literally follow the protagonist, who eventually finds refuge in a bar with a pair of friends and a Miller Lite.

It will run in 90-, 60-, 30- and 15-second cuts across TV and online video through 2019 and into early 2020, when it will be joined by new It’s Miller Time work.

“We think this will inspire more people to get together in person, at a bar, over a beer, instead of sitting at home and scrolling through their phones,” says Alan Bremerkamp, senior marketing manager for Miller Lite. “In that respect, this campaign could serve to elevate the entire beer category.”

As part of the rollout of the new campaign, Miller Lite is attempting to set an example to its fans by going dark on social media and it’s asking its drinkers to do the same. Up to 118,000 people who unfollow Miller Lite on Instagram or Facebook could receive a free or discounted Miller Lite (subject to state and local laws), a number equal to its amount of Instagram followers.

“We understand it’s risky for a brand today to say that we want you to unfollow us on social media when it’s one of the many ways we stay in touch with beer drinkers,” says Anup Shah, vice president of the Miller family of brands at MillerCoors. “But we value those in-person connections and are committed to inspiring people to do the same, even if that means losing a few followers along the way.”

Miller Lite is the first major brand to ask consumers to unfollow them on social media channels so they can spend more time with their friends in real life.

The It’s Miller Time slogan first surfaced in the early 2000s, then came back as recently as 2012, when it was pitched as a reward after a long day of work. The brand decided to resurrect It’s Miller Time again to give it a solid one-two punch, building off its functional messaging that highlights its 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs per 12-ounce serving.

“Miller Lite has been on a multi-year turnaround journey, and for the last four or five years, we’ve been focused on stabilizing the business by restoring pride in our beer and confidence in the brand,” Benedict says. “And we’re on the right path, growing share of premium lights for 20 consecutive quarters and holding share in total beer.”

Still, she says, “there’s so much more we can do. And we think layering on this emotional messaging will be what pushes us back on the path to sustainable growth.”

In addition to its TV spots, Miller Lite will be integrated into "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" tonight and air its new ad during the show. It’s Miller Time also will appear in print, starting with Rolling Stone’s Nov. 5 issue, and air radio and digital spots.

“Our new television spot is so different than what’s expected from our category, and our supporting elements bring together a powerful message that resonates with our target drinkers,” Benedict says. “With It’s Miller Time, we want younger legal-age drinkers to reconsider Miller Lite like never before.”