That's because the 30-person staff will be almost entirely composed of field staff from Miller's former media agency, Bates Worldwide, New York.
Twenty to 25 Bates staffers who worked on the Miller account will defect to Burnett as early as this week, executives familiar with the plan said.
Burnett insiders say the agency hopes to leverage the field marketing expertise of the Bates alumni not only to jump-start its relationship with Miller but also to establish the framework needed to win such assignments from other clients. Burnett currently has no other field-service assignments.
A Burnett spokesman said it was premature to discuss broader assignments. The subsidiary, he said, is "entirely Miller-driven and focused."
Burnett's media assignment officially begins today. It won the media buying and planning business from Bates in December, at the same time losing the Miller Lite creative assignment to Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.
Although Burnett would not comment on the Bates defections, a Bates spokeswoman said, "Leo Burnett and Miller had both indicated an interest in taking our field service staff, and we're assuming they will do that."
REGIONAL MEDIA PLANNING
The subsidiary will oversee local and regional media planning, as well as other administrative duties. It will also establish
or significantly augment Burnett's office presence outside Chicago, with offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle.
National buys and planning will be coordinated from Burnett's Chicago headquarters.
REMICK TO HEAD UNIT
Rick Remick, VP and former account director for Miller Lite, will head the new unit as president. Chris Harder, VP-media director, and Bob Brennan, senior VP-director of U.S. media services, will oversee the national media assignment.
Peter Volz, exec VP-client service director, will specifically oversee the Miller business.
Burnett said it is currently culling candidates to head up sports marketing.
The new unit possibly signals increased attention to spot TV buying by Miller. Just last fall, the brewer was said to be shifting its focus away from local buys in favor of national network and cable TV.
Miller spends about $200 million on national TV and about $100 million on spot TV.
Contributing: Laura Petrecca.