‘The driver for what?’: The most confusing commercial of March Madness

One of the few downsides of March Madness is that you are going to watch hours upon hours of basketball on the same channels with the same sponsors. This means you will see hours upon hours of the same commercials. Most of the time, they are harmless. Every once in a while, there is a legitimately enjoyable ad. But on occasion, an ad comes along that is so confusing and repeated so often that it needs to be addressed.

The commercial is entitled “Tiger Wings,” and is for Miller Lite, and as far as I know, it just started airing with the start of the tournament on Thursday (it was uploaded to YouTube by the Miller Lite corporate account on Tuesday). I realize it is insane to break down a thirty-second light beer commercial on a college basketball blog, but here we are. The opening exchange goes as follows:

Waitress, approaching table: Can I get you a Miller Lite?

Patron: Mmm, not tonight, I’m the driver.

At this point, you think that the premise of the commercial is that the waitress is going to be attracted to the guy because he is a designated driver. Many alcohol commercials go out of their way to celebrate designated drivers, and that’s a great thing. As an added touch, the driver here is NASCAR's Brad Keselowski, reigning Sprint Cup champion and driver of the Miller Lite #2. Perhaps there will be some racing jokes? But no, we take a hard right turn to crazy town.

Waitress: The driver for what? Are you guys in some sort of band?

What the what now? First off, as you can see in the commercial, there is nothing about this particular group of friends that suggests they are in a band or musically inclined. Initially I assumed I was just ignorant of how the world works, and bands were always hanging out with their tour bus drivers. But no, Twitter backs me up that American is also puzzled (and somewhat angry) by what’s going on here.

It's easy to understand what Miller Lite wanted here: A group of guys hanging out at a bar, trying to impress the waitress by pretending they’re in a band. They want the “Usual Suspects”-style scan of the room to piece a name together. They want all of them raising their hand to be the drummer. They want the denouement to include a quip about a tour bus, but the set-up is mind-boggling. It makes no sense.

I can’t imagine how difficult it is to make a commercial, where you have half a minute to catch the attention of an audience heading to the kitchen for snacks or checking their e-mail, but you cannot make your storytelling shortcuts this confusing and random.

But maybe this is the start of a franchise. We’re going to see this waitress interacting with all kinds of customers, each conversation making less and less sense as our heroine rips off non sequitur after non sequitur.

“Can I get that with no mayo?” “Oh, I didn’t realize any astronauts ate here.”

“…and fries on the side, please.” “Don’t worry, officer; I won’t tell anyone you’re working undercover.”

Perhaps I am just not recognizing the genius, but I think this really needed to be addressed. Thank you for your patience and continue to enjoy the Madness.