Published on .

After months of street talk that the marriage had turned sour, Miller Brewing Co. announced this month in 1979 its divorce from McCann-Erickson and, as speculated, turned to former McCann and Interpublic Group of Cos. execs Bill Backer and Carl Spielvogel for its new partner.

McCann Vice Chairman Richard Lessler said of the switch, "We're fighting mad. This takes the agency business back 30 years" and called the "shocking decision unfair." The split will cost McCann $80 million in billings. It also has the distinction of making B&S probably the only agency in history to pull in such a big account as its first.

"With one move, Miller has created a house agency," said one executive. Mr. Spielvogel, whose agency is temporarily housed in the Gotham Hotel, would not specify what business the agency had, just that there "were other prospects." Mr. Spielvogel resigned suddenly from his post as vice chairman of Interpublic earlier in 1979, after an apparent power struggle with President Philip H. Geier.

Interpublic Chairman Paul Foley expressed surprise the entire account was moved and characterized McCann's work for Miller as perhaps the best creative advertising ever developed for a brewery. Philip Morris "understands the

Most Popular
In this article: