Media Mavens 2009

Bob Bernstein

Chief Media Officer, Draftfcb

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- When MillerCoors sought to consolidate its media account last year, few observers thought the coalition of agencies and holding companies helmed by DraftFCB's Bob Bernstein had a chance against the might of Miller incumbent Starcom.

Bob Bernstein
Bob Bernstein
"A lot of people looked at it like a high-school team going up against a pro squad," he said. "But I was confident."

And that confidence was ultimately justified, as DraftFCB -- along with Initiative, Kinetic and Bromley -- bested Starcom in the pitch to manage the brewer's $400 million media budget.

While he leads MC Media -- a task that involves coordinating personnel from four agencies and three holding companies -- Mr. Bernstein, 43, continues to also run DraftFCB's media department as well, leading planning efforts for the likes of SC Johnson, Taco Bell and Dow Chemical. All told, he manages a team of 120 people that guides more than $1 billion in media spending.

Jackie Woodward, MillerCoors' VP-marketing services and a former Media Maven herself, said Mr. Bernstein's success is owed, in large part, to his ability to collaborate with creative agency partners.

"He's got a terrific creative streak," she said. "He's really helped us bridge with the creative agencies."

FCB never followed the media spinoff trend, a development that has helped them better align their creative messages with the places they put them. Coors seems to have benefited from that approach, having grown at a faster rate than both its new sibling Miller and its old rival Anheuser-Busch for several years running. And Mr. Bernstein is now trying to use some of the techniques that helped Coors Light grow to revive fading Miller Lite.

It's widely expected that he will look to steer Miller Lite to begin spending more money on fewer total properties. Coors Light, for instance, had tremendous success by tying up huge chunks of its budget in NFL broadcasts, where viewers were bombarded with a constant stream of the brand's "press conference" ads with retired coaches, making the brand impossible to miss.

By contrast, Miller tended to spread its budget thinner. "One ad out of 90 in an NFL game looks great on paper in terms of reach," said Mr. Bernstein, speaking generally about historic differences in Miller's and Coors' approaches. "But to be successful when you're being outspent you really have to stack the odds."

MillerCoors is pleased with the early results. "MC Media was definitely an experiment for us," Ms. Woodward said. "It's worked very well and that is 100% driven by Bob."

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