Can You See the Lite?

Friday features the most welcomed of workweek traditions, Happy Hour; a simple sip of suds revs up the relaxation regime as we brew a better vibe. So which beer-top will you pop?

Out with a new campaign, Miller Lite is making a bid for you to buy their brew. Their advertising recipe offers a bit of beer-battering, with a series of spots featuring a frisky bartender belittling men as boys for their willingness to accept any light beer — pulling punches with overplayed ‘computer bag/carryall-as-purse’ lines, ‘lose-the-skirt’ statements and the like. The givers of ‘Great Taste, Less Filling’ have gone aggressive, challenging would-be chuggers to ‘man-up’ and have a Miller Lite.

At the other end of the cooler, Heineken Light is looking for the same segment of sip seekers, but with a dramatically different design. Their commercials cover a pair of 30-something pals at a Florida retirement community, raking in lessons on life from their elders. An education earned through experience is shared in a series of chat sessions, serving up a glass of appreciation for the classically cool; those handing down the hops help inspire future brewmasters to ‘See The Light.’ Heineken Light is never mentioned outright, just coyly covered by a couple of clips of camera work.

The difference is degradation versus aspiration. Light (and/or Lite) beers serve their purpose, simpler on the stomach and efficient space savers; but few beer buyers (particularly the guys both brewers are going after) define themselves, or more to the point, their manhood, by way of light beer. The context Miller Lite has created, testing testosterone levels by goading guys, falls flat; while Heineken helps itself by giving men the means to elevate their game — the difference is focusing on what we hope to be, rather than what we are not. It’s bottoms up.

As always, a beat to help you break for the weekend in search of your own brouhaha; be sure to raise a mug in honor of the men you define as Dad!