'Tastes great' - 'Less clothes'
Miller Lite mud-wrestling commercial sparks debate
Jan 16, 2003 - If the goal of Miller Brewing's newest commercial for Miller Lite beer is to create buzz, it seems to be working. CNN's "Crossfire" debated the ad called "Catfight" last week, and Stuff magazine hopes to feature the commercial's stars in a photo layout.
The commercial has been airing since Jan. 1 during NFL playoff games, some college football games and late-night TV. It starts with two attractive women turning the classic Miller Lite debate of "tastes great, less filling" into a brawl. They fall into a pool while ripping off each other's clothes and end up mud-wrestling.
The ad cuts to a bar. It turns out the catfight was the fantasy of two guys sitting in the bar (with their girlfriends) as their idea of a great commercial. A cable-only version of the ad ends with the brunet saying to the blond: "Let's make out."
Miller has received 400 e-mails about the commercial, with about half for and half against, said Miller Lite spokesman Ron Acosta. Most of the complaints are from over-40 married women with families. The NFL has gotten a "handful of complaints," says spokesman Brian McCarthy. Executives at ABC, Fox and CBS report no viewer complaints. That could change. Miller may run "Catfight" on prime-time shows and sitcoms, a spokesman said.
"Every time I see it, I cringe," says Laura Ries, an image guru. "It's explicit. It's degrading. It has no real message, except: All men are idiots, and all they think about are girls mud-wrestling."
Miller executives said the spot is a hit with its target audience: 21-to-31-year-old beer drinkers. "They see it for what it is: a hysterical insight into guys' mentality," says Tom Bick, Miller Lite brand manager. "It's really a lighthearted spoof of guys' fantasies."
A poll at USA Today found about twice as many people found it offensive as didn't. Realbeer.com thinks there are other questions to ask and invites you to vote if you found it clever, offensive, "less filling" or something else.
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