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McCann-Erickson’s ‘Tastes Great … Less Filling’ Puts Miller Lite in the Game

Coming off a miserable entrance into the low-calorie beer field, the Miller Brewing company needed its High Life brand to resonate when they turned to New York agency McCann-Erickson. Then art director Bob Lenz had the idea to get a retired athlete to endorse the lite beer in a commercial they shot at a bar in Manhattan. They hired former New York Jet Matt Snell, a 1969 “Super Bowl hero.” The famous line wasn’t even in the original script.

During the shoot, Snell originally said: “You know, new Lite Beer from Miller is all you ever wanted in a beer … and less.” Snell then went on to explain that Miller Lite had one-third fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular beer. Later, the wording about carbs was changed to simply say, “Less filling.”

The brand went on to cast its commercials almost entirely with athletes, causing the campaign to skyrocket and making way for the light beer category to eventually claim half of the market. Four decades and some change later, it’s still Miller Time.