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May the Force Be with You

men build and act out when they spend time together. And this is the type of maleness that men cultivate when they are drinking beer. In other words, the Miller Lite campaign zeroed in on just the type of masculinity that guys care about when they are drinking beer. The campaign said that this brand contains exactly the meanings you go looking for when you go drinking beer. The campaign said, “We know you are looking for Riggins maleness. Miller Lite is the place to find it.” Mr. Riggins Comes Home: How the Miller Lite Campaign Links the Consumer and Riggins

I want now to broaden my theme. The Miller Lite campaign summoned Riggins’s maleness. But what makes it really effective as a piece of advertising is how well it manages to connect this world with the world of the consumer. In fact, this is, I think, the real genius of the ad. Not only does it play out Riggins’s masculinity, but it actually manages to put that masculinity within the grasp of the consumer. The campaign succeeds in getting Riggins’s maleness off the football field and into the bar. Let’s face it, what’s the single greatest problem with sports marketing and the endorsement of athletes? It is that the athletes who get chosen as the endorsers are often larger than life. Their heroism makes them inaccessible. It is as if they have mythical standing. It is as if they occupy another universe. This is precisely the problem with the Bo Jackson ads. Sometimes you say, “Wow, that guy is my hero.” And sometimes you say, “You know, I don’t recognize anything about that man.” Worship is one thing. Identification is something else again. If the object is to establish an identification, the sports hero has to be given a human scale. And look at how the Miller Lite campaign gives its heroes human scale. First, the campaign used ex-athletes. This tack may have been driven by legislation about current athletes and alcohol association. But look what it does for the message of the ad. Suddenly, they look a little more recognizable. And second, look at where all these ads take place. They are right there in the neighborhood bar. None of this Bo streaking


Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype