Miller Brewing Co. has shifted creative duties on its Miller Chill brand to Publicis Groupe's Saatchi, New York, from WPP Group's Y&R, Chicago. Spending is estimated at $50 million.
The shift comes as a surprise, given that Miller executives repeatedly have touted as a success last summer's national launch of the lime-and-salt-flavored light beer. Chill has achieved a 0.3% market share; Miller's stated goal is a 0.5% share by the end of 2008.
Y&R handled the bulk of the work on that launch, though Miller's VP-content communications, Deb Boyda, noted that the shop was never formally designated as Chill's agency of record. (Y&R remains agency of record for Miller Genuine Draft.) Saatchi -- which is agency of record for Miller High Life -- isn't getting that distinction on Chill, either. But Ms. Boyda said it would be handling the "next phase" for the brand.
"We've explained what it is successfully," she said. "Now we're pushing for greater emotional resonance with the consumer."
That resonance may be more critical now that the brand will have a direct competitor. Anheuser-Busch earlier this month announced plans to launch a lime-flavored version of Bud Light that will have national media support. (A-B earlier this week awarded creative duties on that brand to DDB, Chicago, Bud Light's lead agency.)
Bud Light Lime "didn't affect our decision to work with Saatchi, but, of course, we're taking that launch into account," Ms. Boyda said.