Instead, it is giving JWT another chance to work on the flagging $50 million Miller Genuine Draft account at the same time it retains Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide as a backup agency. JWT and Ogilvy are both part of the WPP Group.
"J. Walter Thompson will be the agency of record with Ogilvy & Mather bringing in other ideas," a Miller spokesman said.
At least in the short term the announcement appears to lift the threat of JWT's ouster, which had been widely expected in recent weeks. But some authorities close to the business question how permanent any decision will be in the midst of the major reorganization of a newly acquired company.
South African Breweries recently acquired Miller from Philip Morris Cos. and formed SABMiller, the world's No. 2 brewer after Anheuser-Busch Cos.
The Miller spokesman said both agencies "will be working off
He said the agencies will work together in much the same way competing brewers are working and that each shop would be paid for services provided.
JWT will continue to house the account in Chicago, but will draw creative resources from across North America, an agency spokesman said.
"We've brought some people in who will continue to work on the brands," he said.
And though JWT, New York, handles Diageo's Smirnoff Ice malt beverage, that account team will remain in Manhattan.
"Any creative people who work on this partnership will not work on any other brand that in any way even implies a conflict," the spokesman said.