Starcom Retains Miller's $240 Million Media Account

Beats Out Carat, MindShare in Review

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CHICAGO ( -- Starcom USA has retained Miller Brewing Co.'s $240 million media account, beating out Aegis Group's Carat and WPP Group's MindShare in a review, the brewer announced today.
Starcom retained Miller's media account, which it has had for 10 years.
Starcom retained Miller's media account, which it has had for 10 years.

Roth Associates, New York, was the consultant.

Miller put the account up for grabs in January, citing parent SAB Miller's policy of periodically reviewing agency relationships. People familiar with the matter said the Publicis Groupe agency, which had the account for 10 years, was always seen as the front-runner to keep the business due to broad approval of its work within the brewer's influential distributor network.

New marketing exec
But Starcom's perceived favored status became murkier in March, when Miller hired former McDonald's Corp. executive Jackie Woodward as its new VP-programming and media assets. Ms. Woodward was part of the McDonald's marketing team that bounced Starcom from the fast-food giant's $1.2 billion global media roster in late 2003.

In April, the brewer cut MindShare from the review, leaving Starcom and Carat to battle it out.

Neither Ms. Woodward nor spokesmen for Miller, Starcom or Carat were immediately available for comment. But in a statement, Ms. Woodward said: "Starcom won the business because its people demonstrated a great understanding and passion for our business and how media can help advance our brands. They are ready to step up with us as we continue to add more capability and firepower throughout our entire marketing organization."

A key immediate focus for Starcom will be to help the No. 2 brewer put a stop to market share gains by leader Anheuser-Busch Cos. A-B's shipments grew 4.6% during the first quarter, while Miller's rose 1.6%, according to Beer Marketer's Insights.