Miller just needs a second during the Super Bowl

(This article originally appeared on the Creatonomy Blog.)

Miler-Coors announced today that it has purchased time and will run a 1‑second ad during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1. Yes, that’s not a typo — the commercial for Miller High Life will be just one single second in length.

A supporting website is already live and informs visitors:

“Paying $3 million for a 30-second commercial makes about as much sense as putting sauerkraut on a donut. Actually, even that makes more sense. We’d rather have our message short and to the point, if it means delivering more honest beer at a tasty price.”

At the very least, the gimmick of running a Super Bowl ad only 1‑second in length will generate lots of free media attention. It will also get viewers thinking about the ad before it even airs, wondering what can Miller do/say/show in just one second. To help the process, the 1secondad.com website1 contains several micro-ads that didn’t make the cut. (My favorite has the Miller High Life delivery guy standing in a warehouse, surrounded by cases of Miller, and saying simply “One Mississippi.”)

Miller 1-second Super Bowl adThe ad’s length also will work in its favor after the Super Bowl. When various TV news and sports programs try to decide which 2–3 Super Bowl ads they have time to show in their reports, the Miller ad will be an obvious choice — after all, it only takes one more second to show the Miller ad.

The 1‑second ad also has some potential drawbacks. This is one case where “blink and you’ll miss it” could literally be true. If you’re looking anywhere except at the TV screen when the ad airs, by the time you react and turn to look the ad will be over. There may be people that feel the 1‑second approach is too gimmicky and dismiss the ad outright. And ultimately this is just one second for Miller against 270 seconds of Budweiser ads (two 60-second ads and five 30-second ads).

Finally, I have to comment on the wording of the opening message on the 1secondad.com website. At first, I thought it might be a mistake where the website says “honest beer at a tasty price” — I momentarily wondered whether it was supposed to say “tasty beer at an honest price” and someone screwed up. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that by flipping that phrase Miller was emphasizing some core brand attributes. “Honest beer” is a message embodied in the ongoing High Life delivery guy campaign, while “tasty price” evokes a price so good that you’ll crave it. Kudos to that copywriter!

  1. Update: As of September 18, 2011, the supporting website and domain were no longer in operation. []

About the author

I am a writer, marketing practitioner and astronomer-in-training. My interests include science, technology and the future of just about everything. You can learn more from my Bio page.