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Encouraged by initial sales results since new advertising began, Miller Brewing Co. will increase its media and promotion budget some 30% this year, to more than $200 million.

The brewer will roll out a new wave of national TV commercials for both the Lite and Miller Genuine Draft brands this week.

Five new 30-second Lite ads from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, as well as three 15-second MGD spots from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., were scheduled to air on network and cable TV beginning March 9.


This year's marketing push will also include two major promotions this summer, executives said, but they declined to give details.

The new Lite ads reportedly were well-received at Miller's national wholesalers meeting in New Orleans last week. The fictional adman "Dick" is not featured in the latest TV executions. The "Miller Time" theme is used before and after the commercials' main creative content. Some spots, slated to air later this month, will show real brewery workers arguing about the quality of Dick and his work.

Although the Lite ads have been attacked by some critics as sophomoric, Miller Chairman Jack MacDonough said the campaign was designed to skew the typically thirtysomething brand younger, to reach the 21-to-28 age group.

"It's an age group we haven't always done the best job of appealing to," he said.


"We are competing not just against Coors and Corona, but Coke, Nike and Microsoft," said new VP-Marketing Jack Rooney. "There is only so much room for the consumer to receive messages."

Mr. MacDonough recited evidence that the new Lite ads might be resonating with consumers. He recounted anecdotes of men in bars singing "Adios Amigo," while other patrons imitated the beach-party go-go dance that led off the first Lite spots, dubbing them the "Dick Dance."

More significantly, the work might finally be moving the needle on sales. For the 12 weeks ended Feb. 22, case volume in supermarkets increased 10.5% over the previous-year period for Lite and Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light, according to A.C. Nielsen data. Case volume for Genuine Draft increased 6.1% during the same period, compared with a 1.6% drop for Budweiser.

Agency chairman Pat Fallon said some 20 executions of Lite commercials were shot in the first three months and that the relatively inexpensive campaign "will always be in production" to keep images fresh.


In one new Lite spot, "Teeth," an older man in a bar impresses a woman by popping out his false teeth; in "Movie Theater," a young man, dragged to a foreign film by his girlfriend, cries after knocking over a beer bottle he's sneaked into the theater.

Wieden's Genuine Draft work continues the anti-fashion theme of spots that broke in mid-February. Settings for the three 15-second spots include a woman shooting pool at a bar, a trip to a convenience store and a dog that quits howling when given a can of beer.

Wieden's efforts have earned the agency a stab at being the fourth shop to handle would-be flagship Miller Beer.

The agency was preceded by Scaros & Casselman, Stamford, Conn.; and New York agencies Angotti, Thomas, Hedge and Bates USA-all of which had a piece of last year's unsuccessful $60 million to $80 million rollout campaign for the new brew.

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