MillerCoors Calls in More TBWA Network Help on Miller Lite

Ad Changes Could Be Coming to Nation's Fourth-Largest Brew

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Changes could soon be coming to Miller Lite's advertising. MillerCoors -- which moved the brand to TBWA 17 months ago -- has begun looking for ideas from the broader TBWA network as the brand preps new ads that could come to market soon.

One agency that could stand to gain is 180LA, which has not previously worked on Lite.

"We hired TBWA on Miller Lite because of the depth of resources throughout their network, and we're taking full advantage of those resources with Chiat/Day, 180LA, Juniper Park, Dieste and Integer," a MillerCoors spokesman said in a statement, answering a question about potential changes. "We look forward to sharing the latest plans for building further momentum on Miller Lite, including new creative, when we meet with our distributors next month."

TBWA Worldwide is an agency network within Omnicom Group. The network includes TBWA Worldwide, an ad agency that goes to market with various agency brands including including TBWA/Chiat/Day and Juniper Park/TBWA. 180LA is also part of the TBWA network. Integer Group is a promotion agency within the TBWA Worldwide network. Dieste is an Hispanic agency owned by Omnicom.

The brewer typically uses its annual wholesalers meeting in March to showcase new creative work. Miller Lite and Coors Light are a major priority as the brewer seeks to grow beer sales volumes. The changes could spell the end of a campaign for Lite called "Bodega" that was launched under TBWA in early 2015. Spots featured a bilingual storekeeper named Fred and random customers who came into his store. Recent ads have carried the tagline "as long as you are you, it's Miller Time."

TBWA's Los Angeles office was named agency of record for Miller Lite in September of 2014 after a shootout that included WPP and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett.

TBWA's selection came under a a previous marketing regime that included Chief Marketing Officer Andy England, who departed MillerCoors in July amid a management overhaul orchestrated by new CEO Gavin Hattersley. Also playing a key role in TBWA's selection was Gannon Jones, the brewer's VP-brand marketing, who left the brewer in November.

The new regime includes Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll, who was promoted to the top marketing job in July, and new VP-Brand Marketing Maggie Carey, who recently joined MillerCoors from S.C. Johnson, where she was most recently the executive director of global shoe care.

Miller Lite sales-to-retailers fell by "low-single digits" in 2015, the brewer reported. But recent trends show promise: Sales grew 2.5% in the four weeks ending Feb. 13, which put it roughly on par with its year-to-date growth trend of 2.8%, Beer Business Daily reported this week citing Nielsen data.

MillerCoors spent more than $122 million in measured media on Lite in 2014, according to the latest full-year data available from MillerCoors.

Lite has cycled through various agencies in recent years as the brand has sought marketing answers at a time when most big beer brands are struggling in the face of competition from craft beer and spirits. Before TBWA came aboard, WPP had been working on the account on a project after the brand cut ties with Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

Mr. Kroll previously oversaw an agency review for Coors Light, which ended in September after MDC Partners-owned 72andSunny won the business after a review that also included 180LA, as well as Interpublic's Deutsch. Coors Light recently launched a new campaign under 72andSunny called "Climb On."

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