Miller, Crispin Part Ways

NEW YORK Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Miller Brewing said they have parted ways in a development the agency characterized as an account resignation, though the client did not specify how or why the relationship ended nor disclose its future plans.

Miller issued this brief statement: “We appreciate the work Crispin has done for Miller and we wish them all the best.” Client representatives did not offer further comment or explanation, or say if the work would be re-assigned or placed into review.

Miller spent nearly $175 million in combined measured media on its Miller High Life and Miller Lite last year, with about $165 million on ads for the latter, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Crispin, an MDC Partners shop in Miami, had worked on Miller Lite creative since January 2006 and added the High Life business last September from independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., without a review.

“Today we made the difficult decision to resign the Miller business. While we pride ourselves on the longevity of our client relationships, we also believe that we must do what is right for the agency,” said Jeff Hicks, president and CEO of Crispin, in a statement.

Signs of this were evident when the beer maker aired ads produced in-house during the NCAA basketball tournament. At the time, the agency denied any problems.

The in-house effort replaced a campaign from Crispin that focused on the intentional misspelling of the word “lite.” That effort, shown above, was a change from the “Man Laws” campaign that had featured male celebrities debating what it meant to be manly.

“We just had fundamental difference over creative and strategy,” said Alex Bogusky, agency CCO, in a statement. “And although we made every attempt to find common ground, the process of multi-layered approvals of creative and strategy has made doing work we can be proud of increasingly difficult.”

Publicis Groupe’s Starcom in Chicago handles media chores on the brand, which are not affected by today’s split.

Other client creative shops include WPP’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago and independent Mother in New York.