In 1973, Miller Brewing Company, a subsidiary of cigarette maker Phillip Morris, launched a new reduced-calorie beer product with the slogan “Tastes Great. Less Filling.” Miller Lite created an entirely new beer category. After it was introduced, the brand’s competitors scrambled to introduce their own light beers. The product introduction would later prove to be one of the most significant turning points for the beer industry.
The ads developed for the campaign instigated a debate over the most valuable aspect of the Miller product. And by starting this debate, Miller was one of the first companies to encourage audience interaction with an ad campaign.
The light beer campaign was a success, in part because of the quirky commercials tied to it. The television advertisements featured famous personalities like football coach John Madden and comic Rodney Dangerfield bickering back and forth about whether they loved the beverage because it “tastes great” or was “less filling”.
Miller Brewing Company stuck with their successful “Tastes Great. Less Filling.” ad campaign for close to 20 years, and the product proved to be the catalyst for the growth of other types of light food and beverages. The Miller Lite story is a great example of the right product at the right time leveraged by the right ad campaign.
Light beer has since become a major market niche, and Miller Lite has remained the dominant brand.
Miller Brewing Company brought the campaign back in 2002, using a significantly more attractive cast.