Wieden’s MGD Work on Hold Until NBA Playoffs

Agency’s New Campaign Leaves Distributors in ‘Utter Silence’
CHICAGO–Problems with Wieden & Kennedy’s new campaign for Miller Genuine Draft have led Miller Brewing Co. to put off the work’s debut for at least two months. MGD’s media schedule during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be filled by Miller Lite and High Life spots, the brewer said last week.
The work got a poor reception when it was shown at Miller’s distributors convention in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month, sources said. Some in attendance said it was met with “utter silence,” leading to assurances from Miller executives that the Portland, Ore., agency still had more work to do.
“The work [shown at the convention] was meant to be a preview,” said Miller representative Ron Acosta. “There were some problems to be worked out, particularly [with] the audio,” he admitted.
The Milwaukee brewer now plans to break Wieden’s MGD work during the NBA playoffs in May, Acosta said.
The campaign focuses on the product attributes–specifically its “draft beer” taste–that helped launched the brand in the 1980s. That represents a departure from Wieden’s initial campaign, which featured gritty black-and-white photography and an emphasis on Miller Brewing’s size. Some TV spots featured Gen-Xers engaged in unusual behavior, including hot dog eating contests.
Spanish language spots from Wieden that are representative of the new general market work will begin airing this weekend on Hispanic networks, such as Telemundo and Univision, Acosta said.
Like Miller Lite agency Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, Wieden was sent back to the drawing board late last year on MGD. While Fallon’s failed campaign for Lite led to a review, Wieden’s new idea for MGD was deemed a winner by the brewer.
Wieden also pitched the Lite account and came up with a campaign idea that sources said was sent into production with director Joe Pytka. The finished spots, however, were not enough to unseat Fallon.