- Miller Lite created the "Cantroller," a 12-ounce can of beer that doubles as a gaming controller, according to a company blog post. The limited-edition Cantroller launches this week in partnership with comedian and gaming fan Eric Andre. The brand also will launch its own Twitch channel later this week.
- The Cantroller is Bluetooth-enabled, contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for a three-hour charge, offers haptic feedback and, importantly, can be refrigerated. Miller Lite produced 200 Cantrollers for the launch and plans to make hundreds more.
- Developed with tech company Unit 9, the controller will be awarded on June 12 at the video game industry's E3 event in Los Angeles. Select fans will play the classic video game "Street Fighter" against Andre, with winners getting the Cantroller as a souvenir.
Miller Lite's latest campaign looks to engage with the 40% of gamers that are already drinking beer while they play, according to the brand, and utilizes several elements that have proven popular with millennial and older Gen Z consumers (21+).
The Cantroller follows the trend of limited-edition branded merchandise and collectibles that have been used by brands like KFC, which saw its limited-run Funko Pop figure sell out in 11 minutes. A beer can that doubles as a working video game controller could be a popular novelty item with beer-drinking gamers.
Likewise, giving away the controller to gamers that can beat Eric Andre on "Street Fighter" taps into the experiential trend, which can forge a more powerful connection between brands and consumers than traditional ads, which the campaign also includes. By linking with Andre, an offbeat, internet-friendly comedian and gaming fan, Miller Lite can tap into his social media fan base — more than 1.7 million followers on Instagram — to extend the campaign's reach, just as Andre is set to tour the world.
The new Miller Lite promotion is centered around a live competitive event at E3, which will be featured on the brand's new Twitch channel. The Amazon-owned platform says it has 15 million unique daily visitors that each spend an average of 95 minutes daily watching live gaming, and has been integral in past campaigns by Mountain Dew, Gillette and others.
This is not Miller Lite's first foray into the gaming space. The brand last month became the exclusive alcoholic beverage of esports organization Complexity Gaming, which sponsors players and teams and is affiliated with the Dallas Cowboys. Miller Lite will also develop a new video series where Complexity's players and influencers share their best esports tales.
Brand sponsorships in gaming have quickly become a key marketer tool. Coca-Cola in February became an official beverage partner of The Overwatch League esports organization, and Red Bull in March partnered with pro gamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins for limited-edition cans and a fan contest.