Coors Light Goes Into Review With Incumbent 72andSunny Sitting Out the Pitch

Michelle St. Jacques became MillerCoors CMO in January

72andSunny had the business since winning a 2015 review. Getty Images
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

After months of speculation and years of declining sales, MillerCoors has launched a creative review for its flagship brand Coors Light. The announcement came via a blog post on the company’s site today, and it arrives less than two months after MillerCoors named Michelle St. Jacques as its first female chief marketing officer.

72andSunny Los Angeles, which has been AOR for America’s second biggest-selling beer since 2015, will not be involved in the pitch.

“With the re-found focus on transformative refreshment, and with the stated need to better connect with younger legal drinking age consumers, for the first time in over three years Coors Light is opening up its roster of agencies,” the post read.

Ryan Reis, vp of the Coors family of brands, added, “Our current mix of agencies have done some incredible work but as we bring Coors Light back to what made it so successful to begin with, we’re seeing some exciting ideas from new places about how that concept can come to life. As we look to identify new and disruptive ways for the brand to come to life, we are starting to explore some of these new partnerships.”

Reis went on to state that “moving fast is critical,” noting the brand “changed campaigns in late 2018 when it became clear the previous effort wasn’t delivering results.”

The move was not unexpected since the brand hired St. Jacques early this year. The announcement also comes one week before MillerCoors’ annual meeting with its influentials beer distributors.

“Coors Light is opening up their roster to other creative agencies, and 72andSunny Los Angeles will not be participating,” an agency spokesperson said. “We’ve put a lot of great work on the table for this brand, and some of it made it out into the world, but not enough. At this point, our creative differences are such that we are in better service as fans and beer drinkers than as their agency.”

The representative declined to elaborate on 72andSunny’s decision not to compete. Earlier this year, the company moved a portion of the digital business for the Coors Banquet brand to Mekanism in a shift that did not follow a formal review.

72andSunny beat out Deutsch and 180LA in a late 2015 review to win the business. MillerCoors had previously moved the account away from Chicago-based indie incumbent Cavalry after cancelling an already-completed campaign starring Sam Elliott due to distributors’ uncertainty about its “creative direction.”

According to recent reports from USA Today, Coors Light remains America’s second most popular beer, though its market share is roughly half that of Bud Light. Like most big-name brews, it has seen sales totals drop for several consecutive years with little sign of reprise. However, Bud Light and Budweiser fell even more precipitously from 2017 to 2018, and it is unclear whether the AB InBev controversy over high fructose corn syrup will affect sales. Coors Light responded last month with a #ToastToFarmers.

In laying out its future marketing plans in the blog post, Reis said Coors Light will focus on “cold” messaging while targeting the 21-34 and Latino demographics.

“Reis is under no illusions that things will turn around overnight,” the post read. “But he says he is encouraged by some recent sales indicators.”

Kantar Media has Coors Light spending just over $154 million on paid media during 2017 and approximately $90 million during the first nine months of 2018, a decline of nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.