MILLER BOOSTS LITE ADS ON SUPER BOWL PREGAME

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Miller Brewing Co. is boosting its ad time on NBC's pregame show for the Super Bowl in an effort to build the resurgent Miller Lite brand by further leveraging its NFL sponsorship.

Although a spokeswoman said Miller hasn't committed to any specific amount of time yet, executives familiar with Miller's plans said the brewer will buy between 6 and 8 minutes on the show Jan. 28, up from four last year.

MILLER ON BOWL PREGAME

Miller is focusing on the pregame show because rival Anheuser-Busch has category exclusivity during the Super Bowl itself.

"The NFL is by far the No. 1 sports property among 21-to-28-year-olds," the target audience for Lite, said Mike Johnson, brand director for the No. 3 U.S. beer.

Last year, Miller ran four 60-second spots, said a company spokeswoman.

Miller is upping its commitment as part of an integrated marketing campaign tied to its NFL sponsorship (AA, July 14). The brewer already has broken seven TV spots in the campaign from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.

During the pregame show, the brewer plans to include spots featuring winners of the Miller Lite Cheerleader search, a promotion that kicked off with ad support Oct. 5.

AD SPENDING UP 48.1%

Miller has spent heavily on Lite-related ads during the first six months of 1997, investing $80.1 million behind the brand, up 48.1% from the year-earlier period, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

For the 52 weeks ended Sept. 7, supermarket sales of Miller Lite were up 10.4% to 29.8 million cases, according to Information Resources Inc.

Miller spent, for all brands, $139.1 million in advertising during the first six months of the year, up 4.6% from the year-earlier period, according to CMR.

During the same period, spending by Anheuser-Busch fell 3.6% to $128.9 million, according to CMR.

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