Miller Lite’s QR code jerseys turn 1K Super Bowl viewers into beer ads

Courtesy of Molson Coors


Dive Brief:

Molson Coors brand Miller Lite is foregoing a Super Bowl commercial this year in favor of a “Running of the Beer Ads” program that tasks 1,000 football fans to serve as the brand’s official advertisement, per details shared with Marketing Dive.

Consumers starting Feb. 1 can sign-up online to receive a Miller Game Time Jersey emblazoned with a QR code that they can wear while stepping out during Super Bowl commercial breaks, including to get more beer. The jersey, which will be offered to 1,000 consumers total, can be scanned for the chance to win beer money.

Molson Coors also teamed with actor and comedian Rob Riggle, who will serve as the “lead beer runner” and encourage consumers to participate. The move follows the brewer’s “High Stakes Beer Ad” commercial in last year’s big game. 


Dive Insight:

Miller Lite’s decision to engage in unofficial advertising during Super Bowl LVIII is a departure from last year’s strategy, which put a heavy emphasis on its on-air advertisement. This year, instead of the brand being on-screen, Miller Lite is looking to 1,000 of its fans to handle its advertising through the “Running of the Beer Ads” effort.


“We’ve always been excited by [the Super Bowl] as an opportunity to engage fans in creative and unexpected ways. That’s not going to change just because we can buy a national ad now,” said Ann Legan, global vice president of marketing for the Miller Family of Brands, in emailed comments to Marketing Dive. “We’ve always tried to show up in ways no other beer could, and we’re confident we will this year, too.”


Consumers beginning Feb. 1 can sign-up online to receive the official Miller Game Time Jersey along with $100 and a Big Game Ad kit. On Feb. 11, the day of the Super Bowl, participants during the game’s commercial breaks will set off on their “beer runs” while sporting the jersey, which includes a QR code that others can scan for the chance to win a share of a $170,000 prize, along with other rewards. Additionally, the top five individuals whose jerseys are scanned the most will receive beer for a year, per release details, an incentive that could encourage participants to be more actively involved. 


To help drum up excitement, actor Riggle will encourage consumers to sign-up and participate in the “Running of the Beer Ads” effort. In a teaser ad explaining the activation, Riggle is seen dramatically running with a group of people decked out in Miller Lite apparel before one individual is seen scanning the QR code.


Last year, Molson Coors ran its first official Super Bowl advertisement in over three decades after competitor Anheuser-Busch InBev ended its Super Bowl alcohol ad monopoly. The brewer partnered with sports betting company DraftKings to turn its advertisement into a contest for fans. The effort, coined “The High Stakes Beer Ad,” pitted two of the brewer’s most popular brands — Coors Light and Miller Light — against one another in the lead-up to the game. Through the DraftKing’s tie-up, viewers were encouraged to place bets on the details of the ad ahead of kickoff. 


Miller Lite joins a host of others who are sitting out from traditional Super Bowl advertising this year, including Heineken. Cost could be among the factors influencing the decision by some to hold off, with the price for a 30-second commercial reportedly costing brands a hefty $7 million. Still, others in the beer space have already shared their big game plans, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has purchased 2 minutes and 30 seconds of national air time for its Bud Light, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra brands.