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MillerCoors Shakes Up Agency Roster

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NEW YORK MillerCoors has shifted creative assignments among its general-market and retail shops, resulting in the elimination of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Young & Rubicam and retail agency Upshot, the client confirmed today.

The shifts came nine months after Molson Coors Brewing merged with the U.S. operations of SAB Miller and named MolsonCoors chief marketing officer Andy England CMO of the new MillerCoors.

Publicis Groupe-backed BBH here had handled lead creative duties on Miller Lite, WPP Group's Y&R in Chicago had Miller Genuine Draft and MGD 64 and Upshot, an independent in Chicago, worked on about a dozen brands, including Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller Chill, Foster's and Icehouse.

Miller Lite, which spent more than $140 million in major measured media last year, according to Nielsen, is heading to the Chicago office of Interpublic Group's Draftfcb, which already handles Coors, Coors Light and Molson.
 
MGD, MGD 64 and Keystone, which collectively spent more than $22 million last year, per Nielsen, have been awarded to the New York office of Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, also lead agency for Miller High Life and Miller Chill. Keystone had been at Draftfcb.

In addition, Upshot's retail assignments are being redistributed among Omnicom Group's The Integer Group in Lakewood, Colo., which picks up Miller Lite; Publicis Groupe's Digitas in Chicago, which adds Foster's, Icehouse, Mickey's and Sparks; and Publicis Groupe's Arc in Chicago, which gets Miller High Life, Milwaukee's Best, Miller Chill, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch, Keystone and Molson.

In addition, George Killian's Irish Red is shifting from Draftfcb to Jacobson Rost in Sheboygan, Wis., which already handles Leinenkugel's and Henry Weinhard. Killian's spent less than $1 million last year, per Nielsen.

"We have assembled a team of world-class agencies capable of delivering differentiated and engaging programming for our brands," said England, in a statement. "Both Miller and Coors had a talented group of agency partners and there was no reason to look beyond that pool."

The Miller Lite shift comes five months after Draftfcb created holiday ads for the brand and three weeks after MillerCoors presented new work for its core brands to its distributors, including spots for the light beer from Draftfcb. The distributors' meeting took place March 17-18 in Las Vegas. BBH had handled the brand since 2007.

"We've been very proud of our work for Miller Lite but have come to believe that we are not fully compatible partners for the future," said BBH New York CEO Emma Cookson, in a statement. "We wish them great success."

Draftfcb also was part of a team that won U.S media planning and buying duties on MillerCoors in November after a review. The team also included IPG's Initiative and WPP-backed shop Kinetic and the win resulted in the creation of a dedicated unit known as MC Media.

All told, MillerCoors spent more than $390 million in major measured media last year in the U.S., according to Nielsen.