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Miller Lite Gives You Friends With Benefits


IDEA: You always have a good time out on the town with your friends. But if one of them were a celebrity, things might be a little more interesting. Grooving with Questlove, laughing with (or at) Ken Jeong, intimidating people with Chuck Liddell—thanks to their famous buddies, it's never a dull moment for the everyday guys in Miller Lite's new ads from Saatchi & Saatchi. For the agency, the celebrity approach is a way to ramp up the novelty and energy level of its "Miller Time" campaign, having revived that tagline last year after taking the account from Draftfcb. "'Miller Time' is a simple equation. It's guys who are great friends getting together and having a great beer, which happens to be Miller Lite," said executive creative director Keith Scott. "For this next round of work, we were wondering: How can we bump it up to the next level and make it more interesting for guys, and for us, too? So, we changed the dynamic of each group by adding some interesting people to it."

TALENT: Instead of pricey A-listers, the agency wanted celebrities who seemed more like everyday guys, ones the young male viewer could see himself hanging out with. "We looked at a ton of people," said Scott. "One thing we looked at was archetypes for groups of guys. Chuck Liddell is the tough guy. What kind of benefits would that bring to the group? Ken is who he is—the wild-card comedian. What kind of fun would that bring? And then Questlove, honestly, he's just cool." All three turned out to be as accessible as the agency had hoped. "They ate lunch with everybody at the shoots. They weren't hiding away in trailers," said Scott. "That helped set the tone for the other actors, too, as we're trying to redefine 'Miller Time.'"

COPYWRITING: Scott's writing partner, Paul Johnson, plowed through loads of scripts, jokes and vignettes. Not surprisingly, Jeong has the best one-liners. "I'm that guy from that thing!" he shouts to bouncers as his group waits in line at a club. "You guys want to head to this house party?" Questlove asks his buddies. "It's in Thailand." Liddell, meanwhile, gets his way merely by glancing at potential adversaries. The spots open with the same voiceover—"If you've got your crew and Miller Lite, you've got Miller Time. But what if one of your crew was …" This allows the brand to state its everyman ethos while slightly departing from it as well. Some scenes are rooted in reality. Questlove really does have 75,000 records. Liddell really did play with dolphins at a zoo (though in real life, he was invited to do so by a zookeeper—in the spot, he invites himself).

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Hollywood director Peter Berg filmed the three spots around Los Angeles over five days. In each ad, when the celebrity appears, the scene freezes and his name appears—giving the spots a movie-trailer feel. "It's supposed to come off like you're seeing a trailer of the highlights of a night with these friends," said Scott. "It's not a 30-second spot about one specific thing that happened." Berg was perfect, Scott said, because of his history working with celebs and his visual style. "We didn't want these to feel like comedy spots," he said. "We wanted them to feel like a glimpse into the world of these guys, but in a cinematic way."

SOUND: Questlove, the drummer and frontman for the Roots, had a say in the music track for his spot—it's "Limo Lights" by Junkie XL. The Liddell spot uses "C'mon Doll" by My Goodness. The song in the Jeong ad is an original track by music house Butter. Because of all the music and dialogue, sound design didn't play a major role.

MEDIA: National broadcast and cable, and online.


Client: Miller Lite

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Conway Williamson
Executive Creative Director: Keith Scott
Executive Creative Director: Paul Johnson
Copywriter: Paul Johnson
Art Director: Keith Scott
Executive Producer: Bruce Andreini
Music Producer: Ryan Fitch

EVP/Managing Director: John Dunleavy
Account Director: Connor Bryant

Production Company: Pony Show
Director: Peter Berg
Director of Photography: John Schwartzman
Executive Producer: Susan Kirson / Jeffrey Frankel
Line Producer: Fern Martin / Helga Gruber

Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Paul Martinez and Greg Scruton
Executive Producer: Nicole Visram and Damian Stevens
Producer: Amburr Farls
Assistant Editor: Trevor Schulte

VFX: KILT Studios
VFX Supervisor Andy Mac
Flame Artists Andy Mac and Dave Sarbell
Executive Producer Matthew McManus

VFX: Light of Day
Graphics: Justin Barnes
Lead Smoke: Josh Williams
Lead Flame: Colin Stackpole
Flame Artist: Joe Wenkoff
Producer: Nick Dziekonski

Music Company: Butter / Licensed
Colorist: Tim Masick at Company 3
Audio Mixer: Steve Rosen at Sonic Union

Motion Graphics: Buck
ECD: Orion Tait
Executive Producer: Anne Skopas
ACD: Ben Langsfeld
Producer: Kevin Hall
Editor: Ryan Hensley
CG Supervisor: Ryan O’Phelan, Kathy Siegel
Compositors: Thomas Panayiotou, Ryan O’Phelan
Colorist: Seth Ricart

Production Co/Tabletop: MJZ
Director: Irv Blitz
Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson
Line Producer: Patrick Malloy

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