Miller Genuine Moves to Y&R

CHICAGO Miller Brewing has shifted creative duties on its estimated $70 million Genuine Draft account to WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, the company confirmed. Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., previously handled the brand.

Y&R’s Chicago office will evolve the brand’s current campaign, which is tagged, “Beer. Grown up.” The new work is expected to continue the brands “stylized use of visuals and music,” but will “directly resonate with consumers,” according to a statement issued by the Milwaukee company.

The “Beer. Grown up” campaign broke during the Academy Awards telecast this year. One spot showed men throwing out ratty old T-shirts and beer funnels and drinking beer out glasses rather than plastic cups. The effort was meant to position MGD as a beer that met their new grown-up tastes.

Y&R has gone through several management changes at the client. The shop survived a roster review last August that saw WPP sibling Ogilvy & Mather cut and Martin awarded the MGD business. Y&R was retained to handle some new product work, according to a company representative.

The roster paring was part of a shift in strategy by chief marketing officer Tom Long (who joined the company in June 2005) that aligned brands with agencies, rather than having them constantly compete for assignments on its Miller Lite and Genuine Draft brands [Adweek, Feb. 6]. Miller consolidated its flagship Lite account at MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami in February.

The company representative said there was a review for the business, but would not name any other contenders. The move effectively ends Martin’s relations with the brewer, the representative said.

Miller spent nearly $35 million on advertising its MGD brands through the first six months of this year, up from $20 million over all of 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.