BUD SHOP LEAPS TO MILLER

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Three months after making two spots for Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light, Leap Partnership has been hired by rival Miller Brewing Co.

Miller confirmed Friday it hired the Chicago agency-formed seven months ago by three former creative executives at DDB Needham Worldwide-to handle "an undisclosed project." Agency insiders said the initial project is a sales promotion that won't involve brand advertising.

The Leap partners, while at DDB Needham, created the "Yes I am!" Bud Light spot featuring an airport passenger who claims to be "Dr. Galazkeiwicz" in order to get a limo ride. As Leap, they produced a follow-up spot featuring the same man arriving at the Lee family reunion. A second spot from Leap featured a bird saying, "Hide the Bud Light."

Leap, however, got no more A-B work amid rumors of the agency's conversation with Miller. Bud Light in April began running a new spot from DDB Needham featuring the same man and characters previously used in a "Ladies Night" spot.

Miller revamped some agency assignments on April 29 by moving Miller Lite Ice to Backer Spielvogel Bates, New York, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and giving J. Walter Thompson USA the assignment for Sharp's and Miller Reserve, both from BSB. Miller didn't indicate if the latest move was related.

Leap "brings to the table excellent beer advertising credentials. We feel it is important to put those kind of credentials on our radar screen," said Susan Henderson, Miller public relations manager.

Leap officials, while declining to disclose what work was assigned by Miller, said it was unlikely the agency would have agreed to take only a single project.

"They realize we are a beer team," said partner Fred Smith.

Miller commonly uses all its agencies for ideas when it comes time for new campaigns.

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