Miller Readies New Weinhard Beer Ads

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Launch of 'Beer Means More Here' Campaign

Philip Morris Cos.' Miller Brewing Co. this month will launch its first new campaign for Northwestern regional brand Henry Weinhard's.

Selling the idea that beer means more in the Northwest.
This is the first work by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., which also handles Miller High Life.

The campaign places drinkers in Northwest settings and uses the "Beer Means More Here" tag. Ads will run regionally on sports and late-night TV starting Feb. 26. "We're looking to capture the glory of the Northwest," said brand director Michael Johnson. He said Miller, which acquired the brand in 1999, felt the super-premium Henry Weinhard's had languished with the launch of pricey microbrews. The Stroh Brewery Co. had previously owned the label.

Weinhard's is distributed in 10 states. Ad spending is expected to increase about 15%. Miller spent $432,000 on the brand in the first 11 months of last year, and a 15% increase would give Henry's its largest marketing push since 1996's $2.4 million. Hal Riney, San Francisco, had launched the long-running Old West campaign, which Mr. Johnson said was no longer relevant. Miller, however, ran the campaign last year.

The country's No. 2 brewer handed Wieden the business in October. The move was believed to have occurred, at least partly, because of finances. Mr. Johnson would not address the issue, saying only that Wieden was selected because it's a "great agency."

Weinhard's is one of Miller's two super-premium brands. The other, Jacob Leinenkugal, is a Midwestern brand. Miller also imports Foster's Australian beer. Mr. Johnson said there are no immediate plans to take Leinenkugal or Weinhard's national.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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