MillerCoors is creating a marketing position to oversee its biggest brands, including Coors Light and Miller Lite, as it seeks to bolster its premium light business and put a new focus on multicultural marketing. Rick Gomez, who has overseen Coors Light and Coors Banquet since 2009, will become the brewer's VP-brand marketing, a newly created job that will report directly to Chief Marketing Officer Andy England, according to a company memo sent to distributors.
"Under one leader, the vice president of brand marketing will deliver a more consistent approach to our positioning and planning focusing on two of our company's most important strategic business priorities: winning in premium lights and winning in multicultural," Mr. England said in the memo. "Rick will have responsibility for the overall strategy and positioning of our premium and below premium brands, which include Coors Light, Miller Lite, MGD 64, Keystone Light, Miller High Life and Coors Banquet. He also will have direct responsibility for multicultural marketing at MillerCoors."
The move essentially gives Mr. England a top lieutenant to oversee marketing of individual brands, as he deals with new responsibilities gained last year when he began overseeing communications, government affairs and business planning and strategy. The move is not expected to result in any changes for ad agencies. It also is the first big change announced since MillerCoors in late April said Tom Long would take over as CEO on June 1, replacing the retiring Leo Kiely.
Mr. Gomez joined MillerCoors in June 2009 from PepsiCo, where he was VP-marketing for waters, enhanced waters and juices. Coors Light continued its momentum under his leadership, with experts predicting it could soon derail Budweiser as the nation's second-best selling brew behind Bud Light. Miller Light, though, has been in decline, like many other top breer brands, which have been throttled by weak economic trends that have hit blue-collar beer drinkers the hardest.
Mr. Gomez will directly oversee five positions, with responsibilites over individual brands, as well as Al Patel, the brewer's senior director of multicultural marketing, who will now oversee all Hispanic, African-American and LGBT marketing, according to the memo.