Miller Lite flows with retro look

Thanks to Michael Tremoulis, who is currently completing an internship at Moxley Carmichael, for writing this guest post.  –Mary Ellen Brewington. 

MillerLiteRetro_2“New vintage” is the latest trend, and the iconic Miller Lite beer can has epitomized that style in 2014.

Last January, Miller Lite launched a campaign to bring back its retro can design. The iconic can was intended to be a three-month offering, but beer drinkers pulled Miller Lite off the shelves in droves, and the can has become a mainstay in stores.

“When I heard the old can came out, I went crazy and bought it in 24 packs and 18 packs to stock up before it left the shelves,” said Maria Cornelius, writer/editor at Moxley Carmichael. “It transported me right back into the 70s and 80s.”

Cornelius was there for the can’s original debut, but the millennial generation also is attracted to vintage things. A lot of the people enthralled with the throwback cans weren’t even around when it first came out in 1975.

Andy England, chief marketing officer for MillerCoors explained both reactions well in a Forbes article titled, Charge of the Light Brigade.

“Older drinkers like the original white can “because they remember it, and it brings back great memories,” England said in the article. “Millennials really like it because it conveys authenticity, which is such an important trend these days.”

The term new vintage may seem contradictory, but it makes sense to Charley Sexton, the creative director for Moxley Carmichael.

“I can’t say exactly why but people nowadays are attracted to the classic era,” said Sexton, who was born two years after Miller Lite first made its mark.

Perhaps part of the reason why millennials gravitate to vintage items is because they have grown up in an era of constant connectivity and instant information. Taking a sip from a retro can is a reminder of a slower pace and a different age.

South Knoxville resident Maria Cornelius wasn’t joking about keeping her fridge stocked with classic Miller Lite.

South Knoxville resident Maria Cornelius wasn’t joking about keeping her fridge stocked with classic Miller Lite.

Miller Lite’s vintage look not only resonates with younger people with an appeal for retro, but also for anyone who has a sentimental attraction to the old can.

“Whenever I see the all-white can it makes me smile, because it reminds me of my grandfather when I was growing up,” said Shaun Fulco Hyver, CFO of Moxley Carmichael.

Miller Lite was the first mainstream “light beer” to hit the market, and it did so in overwhelmingly successful fashion. The billboard slogan, “We started this game,” is certainly accurate.

This Miller Lite billboard was visible on Chapman Highway.

This Miller Lite billboard was visible on Chapman Highway just across the Henley Bridge.

Knoxville was one of the first test markets for Miller Lite in the 1970s, so Cherokee Distributing Company helped to launch a whole new category for beer – and a whole new experience for beer drinkers.

Miller recently launched another campaign to bring back its classic bottle from the same era. That also has been well-received by beer drinkers.

Miller Lite shifted to a silver can in 1998 and then a blue one in 2001. While the decision to return to the classic look may seem to be an obvious one in hindsight – it launched to tie in with the December 2013 release of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” – the move was marketing brilliance. It sparked a Twitter account with 175,000 followers and a Facebook page with 2.2 million likes.

The Miller Lite Girls had samples of the classic bottled beer in celebration of the launch of the retro bottle at Carolina Ale House off Cedar Bluff in Knoxville on Sept. 5.

Sexton knows how to tie together the past and the present.

“The perfect Sunday for me is sitting on my patio … I got my kids playing in the yard, the PGA tournament streaming from my iPad and the sound of the crack from that classic Miller Lite can,” Sexton said.