Looking to Strengthen Digital Approach, Miller Turns to Digitas

Publicis Groupe Agency Prevails Over Sibling Arc Worldwide

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Miller Brewing Co. today named Digitas its digital agency of record.
Miller and rival Anheuser-Busch have increasingly tried to use online channels such as YouTube to hype their beers.
Miller and rival Anheuser-Busch have increasingly tried to use online channels such as YouTube to hype their beers.

Digitas beat out Publicis Groupe sibling Arc Worldwide for the account, which was previously held by Agency.com. (Agency.com was invited to re-pitch for the business, but declined; Arc remains Miller's promotional agency of record.)

Digitas is inheriting the account at a time when alcohol marketers are becoming increasingly aggressive and creative in their digital-marketing endeavors. Miller's larger rival, Anheuser-Busch, launched an online TV network earlier this month, and both brewers have increasingly tried to use online channels such as YouTube to hype their beers.

'The right partner'
"As we evolve our digital-marketing approach, we will be looking to develop more programs that naturally engage consumers in ways that tap into meaningful spaces where they spend their time," Jackie Woodward, Miller VP-media and marketing services, said in a statement. "We are stepping up our efforts, and Digitas is the right partner to help us develop breakthrough programs that engage consumers and help further differentiate our brands."

Digitas is expected to work on Miller's entire brand portfolio, which includes its flagship Miller Lite and High Life brands, as well as a growing number of smaller brands such as the soon-to-be-launched Miller Chill, a lime-and-salt-infused beer.

The account will be housed at Digitas' office in Chicago, where Miller recently opened a media and marketing outpost.

'Integral part of any campaign'
"We are thrilled to work with Miller Brewing Co. to further grow and enhance its presence in the marketplace," said Laura Lang, president of Digitas. "Digital marketing is becoming such an integral part of any marketing campaign, and we know we can help Miller develop world-class digital programming."

Miller spent $4.5 million online during 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence, and $2.6 million during the first nine months of 2006. A Miller spokesman said the brewer has been increasing its digital spending and expects to continue doing so.

An Arc Worldwide spokeswoman couldn't immediately comment. A call to an Agency.com spokesman wasn't returned by press time.
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