Creativity Brand Strategy

Miller Lite on Stephen Colbert’s skewering of its Super Bowl metaverse bar: ‘we embrace humor’

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By Kenneth Hein | Editor

January 28, 2022 | 6 min read

Shut out of the Big Game, Miller Lite was basking in public relations goodness when it announced that it will debut a Super Bowl ad – only not on TV. Instead, it will air the spot within a virtual bar in the metaverse. Then Stephen Colbert quickly made the ‘bar’ a punchline. So, what is Miller Lite’s reaction and what can we now expect from the bar and the ad? Molson Coors global marketing vice-president Sofia Colucci shares her thoughts with The Drum.

Miller Lite’s news that it is opening the first bar in the metaverse garnered all of the attention the brand had hoped for. This is no easy task during Super Bowl season – and then Stephen Colbert decided to chime in.

miller lite

Miller Lite is opening the first bar in the metaverse

As part of his monologue on Tuesday, he said: “Miller Lite is opening a bar in the metaverse for the Super Bowl, which explains its new slogan: ‘Miller Lite: Now there’s a reason it tastes like nothing.’”

He then added: “And it’s not only confusing, it’s also exclusive because the metaverse bar will be the sole place where fans can watch Miller Lite’s Big Game ad. Perfect for anyone who thought, ‘Man, I love commercials, but I wish I had to work harder to access them while my avatar drinks this imaginary can of carbonated disappointment.’”

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Sofia Colucci, global marketing vice-president at Molson Coors, says Colbert’s commentary is all part of the fun and that the ‘bar’ was never meant to be taken too seriously. “That’s late night for you! The metaverse is generating a lot of buzz right now. It’s new, a little absurd and largely unknown. Part of our goal is to demystify the metaverse and make it more approachable for the everyday person by creating an environment they’re used to, a bar. We know when you do something different and unexpected, people will take notice. We embrace the humor and invite those interested in the metaverse to share a few laughs with us there.”

The idea behind the Miller Lite’s Super Bowl stunt is simple enough. Tap into the metaverse hype by doing something unusual and first of its kind. After all, brands like Chipotle have gotten props for opening up the first ‘store’ in Roblox as part of a Halloween promo.

The brand and its agency DDB San Francisco have been hustling to take advantage of the newness of the environment. So much so they are still working out many of the details of the bar and the ad in real time. They aren’t ready to share any new visuals yet. Still, we do know there will be a virtual bouncer that will check IDs to make sure all visitors are legal drinking age. There will also be darts, lots of Miller Lite signage and “we even have bathrooms and we’re not sure why, but we have them,” says Ben Wolan, executive creative director at DDB San Francisco. He jokes: “We’re still working on the technology for the bleach smell.”

As for the ad, Wolan promises it will offer self-awareness about how strange the metaverse is. “In some ways, we’re going to have fun with ‘what the hell is this place?’ That’s what everyone is asking right now. We will address that in the spot and hit on some of the Super Bowl advertising tropes that are relatable and recognizable to a pretty massive group of people.”

One thing there won’t be is a Miller Lite NFT. Non-fungible tokens have been all the rage. Bud Light, for example, is dropping 12,722 unique tokens that are designed with color cues from its new zero-carb Bud Light Next product. Anheuser-Busch will also extensively advertise its portfolio throughout the game.

Even if Stephen Colbert hates the idea, Miller Lite is focusing solely on the metaverse experience. “For us, it’s really about finding those unexpected pathways from a virtual world into the real, tangible world. We’re creating a place that’s communal and perfect for people to simply hang out with friends and enjoy tasting virtual or real Miller Lite,” says Colucci. “We were shut out of the game and have to find unique ways to still break through and [get people] talking about our brand. It’s our first foray into this world. It’s important that we learn from it and hear what consumers think and the media thinks.”

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