Ad Nauseam: Miller High Life’s Subversive Bicycle Commercial

During the big game, the commercials you most often see are pimping cars, pizza and beer, with nary a meaningful message among them. That’s what’s refreshing about this Miller High Life ad, which is still trying to sell you beer, but through a decidedly subversive tack. Seriously, I don’t think Clarence could have written a much better script for a Streetfilm spoof.

The commercial is part of a series for Miller Brewing Company by Errol Morris, the Academy Award-Winning director of The Fog of War. The series tries to appeal to the archetypal blue collar American working man who busts his tail at a job that doesn’t appreciate his sweat and toil, only to come home and find the world around him is obsessed with counting calories and buying crap from William Sonoma for the kitchen.

The ads are highly tongue-in cheek and many of the subjects remind me of my grandfather, a sharp-tongued, no-nonsense man who served in World War II, still sees the world’s politics through Cold-War-red shades and thinks the hippies ruined America’s values.

In the spot above, a heavy-set man you’d otherwise expect behind the wheel of a Hummer is pedaling his city bicycle through a snowstorm, with two six packs of beer in the front basket. As he rides, the gruff voice of the narrator says, "Ah, 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."

Now if only Miller didn’t taste bad, I might be inclined to tip one back this lovely Friday afternoon. Fortunately for me, the good folks at New Belgium Brewing Co. have an IPA that’s much more my speed and they brewed it with the power of wind.

Here’s to a great weekend, patriots.

  • Being a Wisconsin boy myself, I have a soft spot for a High Life and a brat on a hot summer’s day.

    And I agree, Ranger IPA isn’t half bad, but it’s no Racer 5 or Lagunitas IPA.

    But I have to ask, was this commercial paid for by the UN cause last I checked anything promoting bicycling is only bringing us closer to the end of America.

  • Shoot, Mike, you have uncovered the plot! This was actually paid for by Hickenlooper through a secret UNICEF slush fund for overthrowing automobility and establishing a socialist bikeutopia.

  • Hey, Miller High Life is alright for the price…

  • Maybe we can use this to overthrow the PBR Mafia.

  • Mike

    It’s good stuff for a basic beer – it is the Champagne of Beers, after all…

  • patrick

    Yeah, I’m a fan of high life too. Don’t drink it too much these days, but it does have a little something that puts it above the other cheap beers.

    Definitely a cool commercial!

  • Ive never understood why republicans, who are supposed to stand for small town values are against bike infrastructure. Small towns were dominated by bikes 50 years ago. They also supposedly stand for american self sufficiency, which goes completely against buying foreign oil.

  • Nick

    You want to see an average blue-collar revolt? Implement a beer tax.

    (Anyone else remember this from an episode of Married with Children? Funny stuff.)

  • jack



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