MILLER PROMISES MORE AGGRESSIVE MARKETING

President Tells Wholesalers That Being No. 2 Isn't Acceptable Anymore

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BOSTON (AdAge.com) -- SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. on Tuesday unveiled its latest round of advertising creative work to distributors gathered here for the annual National Beer Wholesalers Association meeting.

Miller's president, John Bowlin, told the crowd that under its new ownership, Miller would put additional pressure on management, distributors and marketing vendors to increase its market share.

South African Breweries recently acquired Miller from Philip Morris Cos. and formed SABMiller, the world's No. 2 brewer after Anheuser-Busch Cos.

Not acceptable
Mr. Bowlin said that during

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its owneship by the tobacco giant, Miller Brewing had been content to be the No. 2 brewer, but that attitude was now unacceptable under SAB. Miller represents about half of the new company's business compared to less than 5% of Philip Morris' business.

Wholesalers were told that Miller's American emphasis would continue to be on Miller Lite, although executives at the gathering also provided a preview of creative work for malt beverages as well as Lite and Miller Genuine Draft (MGD), according to attendees.

Distributors were also shown two separate advertising strategies for MGD: One effort was from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co., which suggested that not all men are pure even though their beer is, according to meeting attendees. The other theme, from Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, for Miller Lite, compared life to beer when distilled down to the most basic of principles.

JWT work disliked
According to one meeting attendee, distributors did not appear all that taken with the JWT work because it appeared to appeal more to women than to the primary beer drinkers: 20-something men.

JWT's Chicago office had handled the MGD account until recently, when WPP sibling Ogilvy was asked to particpate as a backup agency.

Ogilvy has been the primary agency for SAB overseas. An SAB executive said Miller would continue to use American agencies for American brands in the U.S.

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