MillerCoors Pours VB&P’s ‘Leinie Side of Life’ Down the Drain Following Negative Distributor Feedback

By Erik Oster 

After winning creative duties for MillerCoors’ faux-craft brand Leinenkugel’s last August, Venables Bell & Partners seems to have run into a speed bump in its work for the client. “Leinie Side of Life,” the agency’s planned campaign for the brand, was pulled by MillerCoors after it met with negative feedback at a meeting with distributors.

Here is one of the spots in question.

This is not the first time in recent months that MillerCoors has declined to run a completed campaign. Coors Light shut down Cavalry’s “Cold One” last summer before ending its relationship with the agency altogether. (The business eventually went to 72andSunny.)

MillerCoors’ distributors “told us that while the ‘Leinie Side of Life’ may be a solid platform and tagline, the creative fell short of [their] expectations,” Scott Whitley, president of MillerCoors’ Tenth and Blake craft and import division, said in an internal memo obtained by Ad Age. “Many of [them] told me it was too big of a departure from where we’ve been, and that we need to course correct, elevating the proud heritage of this legendary brewing family and its iconic brands.”

The campaign touted the brand as “German-style beer, crafted with the spirit of Wisconsin.” One spot, featured above, shows a group of friends drinking Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy while engaging in a campfire cover of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” featuring acoustic guitar, snare drum, upright bass, tuba and piano which ended with the tagline “Welcome to the Leine side.” While the approach alluded to the brewery’s legacy, it did not feature the Leinenkugel family (the brewery was co-founded by Jacob Leinenkugel in 1867) , as previous campaigns have, which appears to be a large part of the reason it was rejected by distributors.

A spokesman told AdAge that the ads were “too much of a departure from the brand.”

The company will, however, be moving forward with the digital portion of the campaign, “Leinie Side Chats,” which features the Leinenkugel family.

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