The best commercial ever made?

Posted by on December 7th, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Over two years ago, when I still did my other blog (it covered marketing and PR in the bike industry), I came across a commercial for Miller High Life made by filmmaker Errol Morris.

Recently, a friend reminded me of it and I thought it deserved another look. Watch and listen to what I think might be the best commercial ever made:

And just for the record, here’s the script (voiceover):

That’s the way patriot; let the OPECs keep their gasoline.
We’ll just tap into a far more efficient energy source….man power.
If we all learn to pull our weight, nobody, nobody, will be able to siphon away…our High Life.

The voice. The snow. The bike. It’s both timely and classic. We need more ads like this. Sadly, this series of ads was cancelled a few years back.

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Ian Stude
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Ian Stude

THIS IS MY ALL-TIME PERSONAL FAVORITE!

wyatt
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wyatt

that is THE best commercial i\’ve ever seen.

jonno
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jonno

He\’s only riding cuz he got too many DUIIs.

🙂

Srsly, tho, good ad. I like his look of determination.

Burk
Guest
Burk

I think the sound design really makes it. They could have gone with stormy, cold and miserable sounding but instead it\’s quiet and peaceful…with only the gentle clinking of the bottles. Gives the guy an air of dignity for some reason…

Tony Frusciante
Guest

Very nice to hear that you liked the work. All of the Errol Morris ads were hatched right here in Portland, Oregon from the creative minds at Wieden + Kennedy. WK is the world\’s largest independently owned advertising network with offices in NY, London, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Dehli, Tokyo, Bejing and the Global HQ is right here in Portland.

Here is a link to add to your wave to surf. It is the Portland offices studio blog.

http://www.wkstudio.typepad.com/

This post inparticular may interest some of you.
http://wkstudio.typepad.com/studio/2007/11/wk-seeking.html

Happy Holidays to you all and keep the rubber side down.

joeb
Guest
joeb

Yes, more ads like this. And, pardon my digression, but if only local TV news could find education sexy (like this Miller guy) or sustainablity in Portland dynamic. How hard do they dig for the latest story about a child molester in Spokane? (actually I don\’t think work at it at all. Stab a finger at the page… ok read this) And Meth Watch – Enough already! Local news could have an improved message but alas, the media is already too liberal. (endrant)

Good commercial but… do they sell Mirror Pond.

Me 2
Guest
Me 2

With all of the concern over climate change these days, it would be great if Miller brought it back. It almost qualifies as a PSA at this moment.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

That\’s not bad. The light quality and colors are beautiful. The guy looks like a real person too, rather than one of those plastic abercrombie bimbos marketing professionals like using as a strategy to capture the most \’robust market\’. Could stand to lose a few pounds though. I suppose that\’s partly why they cancelled the ads. Why waste money pitching a product to a older guy that\’s going to die from heart disease related to being overweight? Nice script, corny reading. Thanks for sharing!

RyNO Dan
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RyNO Dan

The guy who went to Sebastopol to study cannon balls ?
I have a keg of Celebration. If it snows, I
hope everyone rides over.

tonyt
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tonyt

I\’m with Burk. The silence with the clinking in the background really does it. It reminds me of how quiet riding in the snow can be. Lovely.

Sigh. Imagine if our government had made PSAs like that after 9/11 instead of telling us to go shopping.

beth h
Guest

Real people doing real things.
(Why doesn\’t more advertising show this kind of stuff?)
Bravo.

nelly
Guest
nelly

that transcript is my new full back tattoo…

but seriously Jackson Pollock lost a lot of beer pulling this same move… at least in the movie.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

funny… I just noticed in my \”related posts\” list that I posted about this commercial on this here site a few years ago.. sorry for the repeat… but I still think it\’s worth a second look!

bikieboy
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bikieboy

wow, that\’s fantastic…seems almost too subversive for network television, did it actually air?

SKiDmark
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SKiDmark

New Belgium had some awesome Fat Tire commercials.

I like this commercial too. I will choose Miller over PBR from now on as my cheap beer.

Tasha
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Tasha

Man, I wish I were as bulky as that guy, maybe my little legs wouldn\’t complain so much going up the hills.

girl on a bike
Guest
girl on a bike

This is a cherished piece of advertising art in our house. I have to say, I always wonder where went the \’ornery old guy work ethic\’ that this commercial celebrates. We all grew up hearing stories about how our elders walked ten miles through snow to get to school, etc., etc., but I don\’t hear much from people of older generations (I\’m 34) who appreciate that biking is actually WORK. Fun work, but still … it\’s one of the least lazy things one can do. I always really loved the \’get your hands dirty/don\’t be lazy/do it yourself\’ old folks\’ work ethic, and I think this commercial perfectly shows that ethic as it relates to biking. I just wish we saw more of it manifesting in society these days. I think everyone\’s become too obsessed with fear (of other people, of traffic, of getting hurt) and comfort, which is leading to this once-celebrated American ethic becoming extinct.

Paul S
Guest

About 5(?) years ago the Gap did an awesome ad with Ashton Kutcher, Scarlet Johansen, and Zooey Deschanel riding bikes through San Francisco. It completely tapped the sense of freedom you get riding bikes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le6QrkyvHaU

I saw this for the first time, appropriately enough, in a motel room while riding my bike down the Oregon coast.

shhambo
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shhambo

That was beautiful. Now I want to see the second part of the commercial: riding on his bike after drinking that half rack.

Shane
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Shane

The Fat Tire ad… also awesome.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnFdEQe8VxM

Dat- like the Dutch videos, wish they were subtitled.

Allan Folz
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Allan Folz

\”Best commercial ever made?\” Yep.

Damn shame what they did.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Yes. Best ever.

Todd B
Guest
Todd B

Local ad guys…how about putting together a local \’bike superhero bike commuters\’ ad for a local brewer…like Amnesia (perhaps with bike commuters crowding up Mississippi or Williams on a glorious summer eve.

Or bike commuters (with walkers and buses) outnumbering cars on the Hawthorne Bridge…for Portland Brewing. (Perhaps they will come out with a Pedal Palooza or Portland Carfree brew this year.)

\’Drinking a beer and biking to work…just doing our part for global warming\’ (or War on Terrorism, ____, etc.)

Jonathan…thanks for sharing the Miller ad…very nice! I had no idea it existed. It joins the Fat Tire ad as a fav.

Julie P.
Guest
Julie P.

The simplicity of this commercial is what makes it so great! There\’s not a million messages or false promises like \”drink our beer and your life is going to fabulous\”. It\’s unfortunate that they stopped the series.

Cecil
Guest

I hate Miller Beer, and was prepared to find this commercial another offensive and cynical example of \”greenwashing\” – but I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn\’t make me want to buy their beer, but it was nice to watch – as other posters have noted, the clinking bottles in the snow are really a great touch.

RJbiker
Guest
RJbiker

Hey,

On a killer hot day in Eastern OR when the asphalt is gooey to the touch and the temp between saddle and road feels like 120 degrees or after a nasty muddy 50 minutes of cyclo-cross racing even a Miller tastes like heaven. Thank god for beer / even the cheap stuff! All of us can only hope to aspire to the inteneded spirit of the cyclist in the commercial as we single speed towards our much anticipated date with geezerdom.

unpaid \”Team Beer\” spokesperson

Evan
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Evan

I recall seeing a print ad produced during WWII that promoted bicycling to save resources (especially oil) for wartime use. It may have even been produced by the government.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Wow. I\’ve never seen that ad before. (Not that I watch lots of TV.)

It\’s awesome– it\’s especially appropriate NOW.

Val
Guest
Val

Wow. That actually brought tears to my eyes. Of course, I\’m funny that way; this one did, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXIq4VSYmsQ We just need a US version, now.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

We have family is St Louis, where, as you know, there is one, and only one brand of beer. Like Miller, it is pretty, um, taste-free.

However, my husband did point out, that when you are in St Louis in the summer, and with the humidity index it is 111 degrees (you did not read that incorrectly), there really is a place for beer-flavored water, because you are drinking it by the quart…

That said, I liked the commercial, too, even though I\’d never buy the beer.

\”Well now! Where are you fellows going with all that beer?\” (my other favorite set of beer commercials)

Burk
Guest
Burk

Just to throw this in, not bike related but probably the best beer ad (or ad period) that I\’ve ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH3GH7Pn_eA

It was shot by Andrew Lesnie, the DP of the Lord of the Rings.

d
Guest
d

I loved the tinkling bottles.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

\”I loved the tinkling bottles.\” d

It is amazing what simple sounds can do. Foley artists….

Me
Guest
Me

Cycling and drinking.
On the snow/ice.
Sans helmet?

Moron.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I’ll have to say, I didn’t mind at all that Graham brought up the thread with the picture of the beautiful girl in a summer dress biking. Awfully nice incentive to make it through another winter.

Considering the season though, it also seems like a nice idea to revisit this thread from the past.