DraftFCB is the longtime agency of record for the Coors and Coors Light brands. Measured media spending last year on Miller Lite was $128 million and on Coors $142 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
A Miller spokesman said the assignment was a result of unhappiness in its wholesaler network over MillerCoors' plan, announced internally in October, to roll out a new campaign for Lite next March.
Miller Lite sales have been declining while its biggest rival, Bud Light, and rival-turned-sibling, Coors Light, have been growing, and wholesalers made it clear to management that the brand needed a boost well before March.
So, with no time to develop an entire campaign, Miller let Bartle Bogle and DraftFCB pitch for what the spokesman described as a one-off assignment to produce holiday-themed Lite ads to air for the rest of the year. DraftFCB prevailed, and the series of six 15-second spots it created will begin airing on Thanksgiving Day. "The speed of the turnaround," the spokesman said, "shows that we are hearing our wholesalers loud and clear."
That receptiveness comes amid an ongoing dispute between MillerCoors and many of its wholesalers, who have resisted some proposed contract changes from the newly merged No. 2 brewer.
Having Coors Light's primary agency work on Miller Lite is a potentially tricky play for MillerCoors. Chief Marketing Officer Andy England has repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping both brands distinct. But, at the same time, he's also vowed to apply the same laser focus that Coors has placed on "cold refreshment," a concept it hits repeatedly in ads and packaging innovations, to Miller Lite's "great taste" claim going forward.