O&M Turns to Syndicate for Help on Miller Lite Creative Bench Asked for Strategy and Creative for the Brand

Ogilvy & Mather turned to members of its creative Syndicate for a new set of TV spots for Miller Lite, some of which are now in production, sources said.

Ogilvy in New York has been searching for a winning ad formula for the troubled brand since being handed the account just more than a year ago. The New York agency enlisted several Syndicate agencies earlier this year in an effort to develop a strategic platform and creative executions for the brand, sources said.

Among the shops that were thought to be involved in the Miller Lite project are Work in Richmond, Va., Core in St. Louis and Hunt Adkins, Minneapolis, according to sources. Other Syndicate shops are Grant, Scott & Hurley in San Francisco; Pyro Brand Development in Dallas; Vitro-Rob-ertson in San Diego; and WongDoody in Seattle.

Miller Lite ads were being shot last week in Toronto, sources said. Agency officials and a representative for the Milwaukee brewery declined comment.

Ogilvy’s first set of ads broke in the spring, nine months after the shop was awarded the $100 million account, under the tag, “Grab a Miller Lite. It’s Miller time.” The spots were more mainstream than the brand has received in recent years, featuring men in hungry search for sports and beer, along with plenty of busty women.

J. Walter Thompson, which was handed the Miller Genuine Draft business at the same time Ogilvy got Miller Lite, broke its “Genuine Opportunity” campaign in January. It also relied on tried-and-true beer guy humor.

MGD is thought to be on course by executives at Miller Brewing, but Miller Lite has remained somewhat adrift, sources said. Most sources close to the brewery say the brand’s problems go beyond its advertising, although some agency sources complain uneven efforts from Ogilvy predecessor Fallon, starting with the infamous “Dick” work and ending with a return to the “All-Star” strategy.