Bowlin Vows 'Clear Direction' for Shops
CHICAGO--John Bowlin supported a return to the "All-Stars" campaign for Miller Lite during his first stint at the brewer in 1994. As the newly named president and CEO of Miller Brewing, he still does.
"What we have on the air is the right direction," Bowlin said of Fallon McElligott's current effort for Lite.
"I think there's something there."
Bowlin was one of four Kraft Foods International and Philip Morris USA executives brought in last week by Miller parent Philip Morris to steady the ailing brewery. PM dismissed chairman and CEO John MacDonough and vp of marketing John Rooney, whose efforts to revive Miller's core brands have not improved sales.
Bowlin acknowledged Miller's advertising, primarily the stalled Miller Genuine Draft work from Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., has fallen short of late.
"I wouldn't call it world-class, to be honest," he said. "All of our advertising has to be world-class. Foster's [via Angotti, Thomas, Hedge, New York ] is world-class advertising. [Miller's] High Life and Icehouse are damned close."
Wieden handles High Life; Icehouse moved to Square One, Dallas, from Young & Rubicam, New York.
While Wieden and Fallon are both believed to be on shaky ground with Miller, executives close to Bowlin described him as fair and loyal to agencies and unlikely to make quick roster changes. Most ad efforts will be handled by new senior vp of marketing, Robert Mikulay.
As for why top agencies have not produced more winning efforts for Miller, Bowlin said, "We have to look in the mirror We will provide clear direction."