Coors Light Gets New Look, Miller Lite Targets Biculturals

MillerCoors Previews 2015 Marketing Plans

By Published on .

Advertising Age Player

MillerCoors -- which spurred a comeback for Miller Lite with design changes -- is about to give Coors Light a new look as it seeks to revive the slumping brand. Meanwhile, Miller Lite will launch a new campaign called "bodega" that will run in Spanish and English, according to MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England, who previewed the brewer's 2015 marketing plans in an interview. (A Spanish-language spot is above.)

The Coors Light packaging changes will downplay the Silver Bullet's "cold-activation" gimmick in favor of messaging that plays more on the brand's heritage as being "born in the Rockies." The packaging will also note the brand's 1978 founding year.

The Miller Lite ads, which are by TBWA and multicultural shop Team Ignition, feature a bilingual storekeeper named Fred. "We have to recognize that more and more of the Latino population is genuinely bicultural and often bilingual. And if they see a different message in Spanish than they see in English than that can be a challenge," Mr. England said. "We need to be telling the same story across different media, including both English and Spanish." The story the brand is pushing is that Miller Lite is the beer for people who want to be themselves, according to Mr. England's description.

The Coors Light design changes are not nearly as drastic of Miller Lite's package revamp. Those changes began in late 2013 and brought back the brew's original white look as a nod to its founding in 1975 as the first mainstream light beer.

Coors Light Updated Bottle for 2015
Coors Light Updated Bottle for 2015

For Coors Light, the red Coors script looks similar, although "Light" uses a slimmer font and is black rather than white. The biggest change, according to an image shown to Ad Age, is that the front of the bottles no longer tout "2-stage cold activation" that refers to mountain images on the bottle turning blue when the brew reaches a certain cold temperature. However, the mountains will still turn blue when the beer is cold, a spokesman said. And secondary packaging will plug the beer as "cold lagered," "cold-filtered" and "cold packaged" beer.

While the cold positioning remains, the changes seem aimed at putting a greater emphasis on Coors Light's heritage. "You can argue that [the] Miller Lite [change] was revolutionary, this is more of an evolutionary change," Mr. England said. But he added that "this is not intended to be a cosmetic change." It represents a "whole new look and feel for Coors Light and I think that is necessary to drive reconsideration of the brand," he added.

As Miller Lite recovers from a long slump, Coors Light continues to fall. The Silver Bullet held on to its place as the nation's second-largest beer last year, but shipments fell by 3.3%, according to new figures from Beer Marketer's Insights. By comparison, Miller Lite fell by 1.6% last year, improving from a 7.1% drop in 2013, according to Beer Marketer's. In the 52 weeks ending Jan. 25, Lite grew sales by 1.9% to $1.9 billion, while Coors Light dropped 2.3% to $2.4 billion, according to IRI, whose sales tally does not include bar and restaurant sales.

Coors Light will also launch a couple of new ad campaigns. They include a music-filled spot called "The Drop" by multicultural agency Commonground/MGS that is part of a campaign called "Refresh" aimed at urban millennials.

Advertising Age Player

An Hispanic version by Bravo is called "refresca." Also on tap is a spot by WPP's Cavalry called "Cold One" that Mr. England described as a "character-driven" effort that will get heavy digital emphasis.

Additionally, Coors Light is repositioning a seasonal citrus-flavored beer that debuted last summer called Coors Light Summer Brew. The taste profile will remain the same. But the beer will be renamed Coors Light Citrus Radler and the alcohol content will be increased slightly to 4.2%.

A new ad for Coors Banquet called "Mr. Coors" is also on the way from Cavalry that makes reference to Coors founder Adolph Coors.

Advertising Age Player

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the agency behind Miller Lite's new Hispanic campaign as Dieste. That work was done by another Omnicom multicultural shop, minority-owned Team Ignition; Dieste takes over Miller Lite's Hispanic account next month.

Most Popular