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Marketer's Brief: Miller Lite Keeps Sparring With Bud Light and Natty Light

Published on .

Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to eschultz@adage.com.

November is here, meaning it's Movember for men looking to partake in the mustache-growing awareness campaign for men's health issues. Burger King's king's mascot is getting involved. Find out about that below. But first, the latest back-and-forth in the ongoing Miller Lite vs. Bud Light/Natural Light brew battle

Taste test tit-for-tat
Miller Lite—which has been tweaking Bud Light all year with a taste-test campaign—went to its competitor's home turf for its latest video. The spot shows consumers trying the two brews in St. Louis, the U.S. headquarters for Bud Light owner Anheuser-Busch InBev. And —shocker!—Miller Lite comes out on top in the Miller Lite-produced spot by PR shop Olson Engage. (In a corporate blog post, MillerCoors says the blind taste test was conducted by promotional staff wearing non-branded clothing in which consumers judge the two brews on color, aroma and taste.)

Asked for a response, an AB InBev spokesman shared the following video featuring its Natural Light brand. The spot is by Virtue, a creative agency within Vice. It continues AB InBev's approach of responding to Lite with Natty.

While MillerCoors marketers are surely happy they are provoking a reaction from their larger competitor, AB InBev execs seem comfortable with their strategy of punching up at the more premium Lite brand with their economy brew. The bigger question: Do drinkers care?

Third time's the charm for REI
In 2015, REI made headlines when it closed its stores on Black Friday and told consumers to go outside. The stunt sparked the #OptOutside movement, and was repeated by Kent, Washington-based REI last year with more partners such as Subaru. For the third year, REI will close its 151 shops on Thanksgiving and the Friday after, but it's also launching a new experiential search engine where customers can access hiking trails, weather conditions, videos and images when they search #OptOutside on social media.

E-commerce looms big, yet small, for CPG
E-commerce is a big focus for packaged-goods marketers with good reason: It accounted for nearly all industry growth in the past year, according to a recent report by Nielsen, with online sales up 21 percent vs. virtually flat at brick-and-mortar stores. Yet it remains small as a whole, according to a new report by Tabs Analytics that found all e-commerce accounting for only 5 percent of household-product sales. By contrast, Walmart alone accounted for 16.4 percent of sales, food stores collectively 14.9 percent, and dollar and home improvement stores 9.5 and 9.3 percent respectively. In terms of that still-small online slice of industry sales, Amazon, Walmart and Target combine to account for 91 percent. Amazon's online household-products share is 46 percent to 30 percent for Walmart and 15 percent for Target.

It's November, which means it's Movember
It's Nov. 1, which means some men are starting to grow those Movember mustaches to raise awareness of prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men's health issues. Now, a mascot is getting in on the cause. Burger King's king "shaved" his mustache to grow what the burger chain is calling a "kingstache." A video shared by the brand has some very Gillette-driven messaging as well, including a razor close-up and a voiceover that says "the best a king can get." According to Burger King this is the first time the king has shaved his facial hair, and he'll have a profile on movember.com tracking the progress. Code and Theory is the main agency on this latest BK effort.

Forget the sea of sameness
EBay is continuing its quest for differentiation from chief competitor Amazon with a new holiday campaign. Called "Holiday Like Nobody Else," the new push includes a 30-second hero spot with three 15-second videos, viewable on TV, digital video and in social media. Earlier this year, the brand rolled out its new colorful brand positioning, "Fill Your Cart With Color," with a campaign from 72andSunny. The San Jose, California-based company will highlight its fast delivery, deals and price-match guarantee this holiday.

At least it's warm
As the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic teams, Ralph Lauren's clothing choices are not always universally embraced. But it's hard to imagine its designs for the 2018 closing ceremony, which was unveiled today, will elicit much reaction.

(L-R) Gus Kenworthy, Alex Shibutani, Maia Shibutani and Jamie Anderson wear the Closing Ceremony uniforms on NBC's 'Today' Show on Nov. 11, 2017 in New York City
(L-R) Gus Kenworthy, Alex Shibutani, Maia Shibutani and Jamie Anderson wear the Closing Ceremony uniforms on NBC's 'Today' Show on Nov. 11, 2017 in New York City Credit: United States Olympic Committee (USOC)/Polo Ralph Lauren

The basic look includes a white down jacket, double fleece pant in navy with a red stripe and red sweater.

Would You Buy This?

BoilingBeeper
BoilingBeeper Credit: BoilingBeeper

A watched pot never boils, they say. But what if you only listened? That's the idea behind the Boiling Beeper, soon to hit Kickstarter Nov. 14. The kitchen gadget floats on top of the water, on top of the stove, and beeps when it gets hot.

Number of the Week
22 percent: The single-day drop in Under Armour's stock price after the retailer reported dismal third-quarter earnings Tuesday.

Tweet of Week

Moves
Jamba Inc. is getting another new chief marketing officer. The Jamba Juice operator said Claudia Schaefer will join as CMO on Nov. 6. She was most recently CMO of Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, a chain sold to Darden Restaurants earlier this year. Schaefer succeeds Rachel Phillips-Luther, who joined Jamba as CMO in Aug. 2016 and who left to pursue other interests, Jamba said.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jessica Wohl

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