As the newly named VP-marketing services for MillerCoors, Jackie Woodward is in charge of figuring out how the joint venture can best use a measured-media budget of more than $400 million.
That heft ought to help the combined companies combat market leader Anheuser-Busch, which controls nearly half the market. "We now have the national firepower and the local execution ... to be the best beer company in America," Ms. Woodward says.
But that new scale also provides a few new challenges. Ms. Woodward needs to help devise a media strategy that keeps the company's two largest brands, Miller Lite and Coors Light, distinct. Those two former rivals haven't added market share simultaneously since the mid-1990s.
And the new roster is filled with similar redundancies: What to do with budget beers Keystone and Milwaukee's Best? What about higher-end labels such as Blue Moon and Leinenkugel's, which both have focused on the fast-growing wheat-beer segment?
"We're going to take our cues from the brand strategies," Ms. Woodward says when asked about that challenge. "We have a new mind-set where we can use media to bring a brand to life."
Asked for examples of what that might look like, she points to a takeover of Chicago's Union Station by Leinenkugel's, in which the train station was draped in branding, sampling and even a branded "Adventure Desk" meant to emphasize the craft brew's Wisconsin roots. She also cites Coors Light's recent investment in I-Am TV, a satellite network that broadcasts direct to bars, as an example of a project with superior return on investment.
Ms. Woodward, 46, came to Miller from McDonald's Corp. in 2006. As VP-global marketing, she was credited as a driving force behind McDonald's global marketing plan, which centered on the "I'm Lovin' It" campaign. She also helped relaunch the McKids program, led a global makeover for Ronald McDonald and managed major sports sponsorships. For her diplomacy in dealing with partners and service providers, Ms. Woodward became known as "the Madeleine Albright of McDonald's."
Miller's media successes during her tenure include the return of Miller High Life to positive growth under a clever campaign that features commercials and appearances starring the brand's beer-truck-driver character, and the rapid rollouts of new brands such as Miller Chill and MGD 64, which both were heralded as successes in the industry.