Miller Lite turns beer cans into antennas for watching football

Dive Brief:

  • Miller Lite debuted a hybrid digital antenna and beer can to beam live sports into consumers’ homes, according to a company press release. The brand is giving away the device until Oct. 12 via a sweepstakes.
  • Before Sunday night’s football games, the beer brand posted links that mimicked illegal streaming sites to surprise fans with its own content, including a parody of the iconic Sunday Primetime song and a comedic cautionary tale about the risks of illegal streaming, per the company statement. It will market the Miller Lite Cantenna across paid, owned and organic media channels and via social influencers.
  • The Cantenna comes as more than a third of total sports viewers stream live games online, according to Verizon Media statistics shared in the press release, and follows Miller Lite’s Bluetooth-enabled Cantroller device from last year.

Dive Insight:

The Miller Lite Cantenna is timed to the beginning of an NFL season that will likely see more fans streaming games at home, as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered many bars and forced some teams to play in stadiums without fans. Citing statistics from Verizon Media, the brand noted in its statement that the Cantenna is aimed at cord-cutting consumers who want to stream sporting events via free over-the-air channels.

“Streaming live sports can get frustrating and expensive and if cord-cutters want to watch football, they’re often forced to resort to sketchy, unreliable, illegal streaming,” Stephanie Clanfield, associate marketing manager at Miller Lite, said in the press release.

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To promote the Cantenna, the brand used its social feeds to send out links to fake illegal streaming sites filled with its content, including a parody video. This type of social media and video content could increase engagement around the brand because it is edgy, humorous and does not resemble typical advertising.

“The Cantenna is a head-turner on its own, but we didn’t want to stop there,” Clanfield said in a statement. “In order to really disrupt cord-cutters we couldn’t rely on typical marketing tactics, instead we chose an unconventional approach to serve them up something unforgettable during a time when they were the most engaged.”

With the pandemic preventing many consumers from experiencing sports — and daily life — as they normally would, the company’s recent campaigns seem to offer people an escape from the current crisis. Since April, the brand has given away beer to homebound consumers, created a 1975-themed rental with 70’s era games and decor, and gifted travel packages based on people’s video chat backgrounds.

Following MillerCoors’ hiring of Michelle St. Jacques to serve as CMO in January 2019, the beer company has continued to blend beer and technology. In June 2019, the company debuted its “Cantroller,” a beer can-gaming controller hybrid, as part of the launch of its Twitch channel and partnership with gamer and comedian Eric Andre. The Cantenna is another device that turns a beer can into a novel piece of branded merchandise.

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