MillerCoors Picks 180LA as Lead Creative Agency on the Next Miller Lite Campaign

By Patrick Coffee 

MillerCoors has chosen to play the Omnicom field by moving lead creative duties on the next Miller Lite campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. to sister agency 180LA without a review.

TBWA beat out hashtag-ready Leo Burnett to become the brand’s third agency of record in less than three years in September 2014. Before that review, Miller dropped FCB and Saatchi & Saatchi (which had shared lead duties on the account) in order to work with Ogilvy and Johannes Leonardo on a per-project basis.

The larger TBWA organization will remain on MillerCoors’ revised agency roster and continue to create work for the client in other markets. But its Los Angeles office will not be involved in the next Miller Lite campaign.

This news follows a February AdAge report in which MillerCoors confirmed that it would be “looking for ideas” from other agencies; that story singled out 180LA, and sources later told us that the agency itself had leaked the tip to AdAge.

From a MillerCoors spokesperson today:

“Miller Lite is the original light beer, and we are tremendously proud of this unique beer and brand. As we continue to share that pride with beer drinkers, we need partners that will evolve and contribute to that journey with us. The network of TBWA resources has been invaluable thus far and we look forward to continuing our relationship with TBWA to drive further growth, momentum and excitement for our iconic brand moving forward.”

It would appear that MillerCoors–like so many other clients–wants to leave all of its options open and get the most work for the least amount of money. This announcement marks its fourth agency shift in as many years.

You’ll also recall that the light beer’s parent company SAB Miller agreed to merge with its top rival AB InBev in a deal worth $104 billion last October. That announcement followed reviews for most of its other brands including Coors Light, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s. The former went to 72andSunny and VB&P picked up the others, though that agency’s first campaign for Leinenkugel’s got cancelled following “negative feedback” from distributors.

After the merger, SAB Miller agreed to sell off its interest in MillerCoors and fired head of brand marketing Gannon Jones, who had played a key role in securing the 2014 TBWA deal.

The shift from TBWA to 180LA also seems to have preceded the departure of the former agency’s president Luis DeAnda along with what a spokesperson called “a very small number” of additional staffers across departments.

For the February AdAge story, a client spokesperson said Miller would be “taking full advantage of those [TBWA] resources with Chiat/Day, 180LA, Juniper Park, Dieste and Integer.”

That was an accurate statement. If we didn’t know better, we might venture to suggest that the company’s challenges cannot be pinned on any particular ad agency.

According to Kantar Media, MillerCoors spent $158 million in paid media promoting Miller Lite in 2015.

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