Miller High Life has a long history of running terrible commercials. I'm guessing most of you can recall the series from the late-90s or thereabouts featuring such awful lines as "That last deviled egg's looking pretty good" and "That's just flavor... to a High Life man." High Life's marketing campaign has long dwelled on the irony of its name - no one who drinks High Life is actually living the high life, and considering how the beer revels in its own cheapness I can't imagine how they'd be fooled, either.
According to the YouTube page, Errol Morris directed that series of ads. It sort of makes sense and sort of scares the hell out of me, although I sense that Morris was well aware of the irony. The thing that I hated about those ads, though, was that they didn't seem to be pitching themselves at the ironic crowd, but rather people who would buy the irony at face value. Behold the kind of man who drinks Miller High Life - he's willing to eat a donut while his hands are covered in grease (and for that matter, he's washing down a donut with a Miller High Life). This is one of the stupider iterations of the campaign, although it's far from the most offensive:
If you don't drink High Life... YOU'RE A PUSSY! Again, I get the feeling there's some irony, but at the same time, it's difficult to believe that the ad isn't pitched at people exactly like the guy in it, and that makes it the exact opposite of ironic. Errol Morris, is that really you?
A recent series of billboards touts the cost of High Life - lower than a grande latte at Starbucks or a six-pack of bottled water - as "proof that the world hasn't gone completely crazy." That's right, a dirt-cheap, shitty beer is still dirt-cheap and shitty! Whew! The TV version of that is what brings me to this post today:
Oh, you have got to be kidding me. First of all, this is at least the second High Life ad that rags on the French. (I was sadly unable to find Morris' "Good work, Pierre" ad, which is the worst of that entire series by a mile and a half.) I know they're an easy target, but come on. Second of all, the premise is preposterous. A place that charges $11.50 for a hamburger is NOT going to be offering Miller High Life! You're not allowed to set yourselves up like that, High Life.
Third of all, does High Life want to be known as "the beer where, if you're poor, it's the cheapest way to get drunk?" Because that's the unspoken message behind all of these commercials. "Hey! Are you selling this beer to rich people? I don't think so!" Miller High Life: the beer for blue-collar types who just want a cheap buzz. Frankly, that's just kind of depressing.