Man Laws (Men of the Square Table) are a series of beer commercials for Miller Lite, inspired by the supposed unwritten codes by which men live. The "Men of the Square Table" are a parody of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. The "Square Table" they congregate around is located in what appears to be a secret, Dr. Strangelove-esque room with glass (probably soundproof) walls. The advertising campaign was a response to negative feedback about prior sexist advertising. The campaign also included a website as well as print advertising.
The ads featured the "Men of the Square Table", which consisted of men of great significance in different fields, such as football star Jerome Bettis, pro wrestler Triple H, actor/comedian Eddie Griffin, adventurer Aron Ralston, professional bull-rider Ty Murray, and actor Burt Reynolds, who acts as the Square Table's de facto leader. The ads would consist of the men bringing up a certain topic or situation, from simple beer-related topics, such as whether anything other than beer be stored in the garage fridge, or if crushing a beer can on your head is permissible, etc. Other topics would be slightly more serious, such as how long one can wait before asking out his best friend's ex-girlfriend, or if it's okay to leave a game early to beat the traffic. After a short discussion on the topic, the men will come to a consensus on a new Man Law, at which point the men raise their beer bottles (or sometimes cans) and proclaim, "Man Law!", at which point the Square Table's elderly scribe would write the new Man Law down.
In popular culture
- The ex-girlfriend rule was referenced in the episode "Both Sides Now" of Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive. Blue Ranger Dax Lo complained about fellow Ranger Will Aston's defection to a female enemy that was once his romantic interest in a previous episode. When their female comrades were taken aback by the comment, Dax and Red Ranger Mack Hartford looked at each other, then at the girls, simply stating "Man Law". The girls rolled their eyes in response.
- In a taping of The New Yankee Workshop, handyman Norm Abram says "Remember to watch your fingers when you're working a mitre box... Man Law."
- For Gator Growl 2007 at the University of Florida, videos shown to fans featured a professor, a marching band member, a fan and Tim Tebow making "Gator Laws" similar to the Man Law ads. Gator Laws decided on included no cheering for other SEC teams unless it helps the Gators in the polls, it is never acceptable to cheer for the Florida State Seminoles, never skip class on Friday for the games on Saturday and body paint on large stomachs is completely acceptable as larger stomachs provide more area to use.
- In Stephen King's 2008 book, Duma Key, Edgar, the main character, sticks his cut finger in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide rather than dabbing it on the wound. Another character, Jack, grimaces and says "Man-law", to which Edgar replies, "Not unless you were planning to drink it", presumably referencing the "you poke it, you own it" law.
Change with 2007 NFL season
The Miller Brewing Co. unveiled a new football-related advertising campaign to effectively replace the Man Law ads starting the week of September 2, 2007, to coincide with the start of the 2007 NFL Regular Season. The series is called More Taste League (MTL) and these ads consist of actor John C. McGinley portraying The Commish of beer to protect Miller Lite's status as the beer of choice. Miller had signed a new agency to handle their TV and radio ads, with the first ones to be unveiled during that time.
- Bosman, Julie (2006-05-01). "Beer Ads That Ditch the Bikinis, but Add Threads of Thought". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Elliott, Stuart (2006-11-20). "Man Law No. 10: No Wimpy Print Campaigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- High, Kamau (2007-09-04). "Miller Lite Introduces a Beer 'Commish'". Brandweek (Nielson Business Media). Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-06-02.