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Miller Lite Starts U.S. Hispanic-Agency Review

Beer Marketer Parts Ways With Lopez Negrete After Seven Years

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MillerCoors is searching for a new U.S. Hispanic agency for Miller Lite after parting ways with Lopez Negrete Communications, which has handled the brand for seven years.

Miller Lite is rolling out a plethora of ads starring celebrities, like Ken Jeong.
Miller Lite is rolling out a plethora of ads starring celebrities, like Ken Jeong.

"This was a decision to mutually part ways," Rudy Rodriguez, the brewer's senior director for multicultural marketing, told Ad Age. "We really at this point are looking for new ways of continuing to drive growth with this consumer segment."

Mr. Rodriguez, who joined the brewer late last year from General Mills, said MillerCoors would consider several agencies, including Publicis Groupe's Bromley, which handles Hispanic advertising for Coors Light. Bromley "has delivered great work for us," he said, noting that Coors Light's Hispanic business has grown for the past eight years. "We have a high level of respect for them."

Bromley also handles MillerCoors' Hispanic media planning. Media buying is at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative. The Hispanic business at Lopez Negrete has consisted primarily of TV and radio spots.

The review is expected to be completed by later this spring so that a new campaign can debut in the fall.

Lopez Negrete, an independent shop based in Houston, is the fourth-largest Hispanic agency in the U.S. with $28.26 million in revenue in 2011, according to Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack. Bromley, of San Antonio, ranks 20th at $10.5 million.

Alex Lopez Negrete, the agency's president-CEO, said it was a mutual decision to part ways.

Hispanics have emerged as a huge target for American beer brands, which are dueling with imported brands for a piece of the growing market. The demographic is especially important not only because of its size, but because Hispanic consumers over-index on beer consumption.

Miller Lite in recent years has made soccer a priority as it seeks new Hispanic drinkers, including striking a sponsorship deal with the Chivas de Guadalajara team of the Primera Division soccer league in Mexico. The pact covers the U.S. market. One recent ad by Lopez Negrete plays off the team's famed goat mascot, with rabid fans shouting "baaaah," after a goal, Miller Lite in hand. This year Miller Lite will sponsor the Gold Cup tournament featuring teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The agency change comes as Miller Lite makes big changes to its general market advertising in search of new growth for the brand, which has struggled in recent years. Plans include a new bottle and ads featuring celebrities.

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