MILWAUKEE: Miller Brewing is beefing up in-house communications as it relaunches Miller Genuine Draft (MGD), Miller High Life, and import brands Peroni Nastro and Pilsner Urquell.
Since London-based South African Breweries (SAB) acquired it three years ago, Miller has been gunning for top-dog Anheuser-Busch.
Nehl Horton, SVP of communications and government affairs, said PR will play a big part. The company hopes to have, by quarter's end, a new director of media relations - currently being managed by Peter Marino of Dig Communications, Chicago - a director of brand PR, a manager of employee communications, and a manager of brand PR for economy brands.
Horton recently hired Aileen Randolph, who started on January 1, as the new senior director of communications.
Horton, who would not disclose marketing plans, said communications and marketing would not be relegated to silos.
"Part of the reason for realigning the brand PR team," he explained, "is to make sure we're better integrated into the marketing organization overall so we can support the whole portfolio of brands better than we have."
Horton said the company, as part of its MGD relaunch, is in the midst of a road show
with distributors. "And we'll see new creative beginning March 1," he said.
"Our goal is to use communications in an active way to drive competitive dialogue to get consumers to change their beer choice," Horton added.
It's apparently working. Horton said that over the past year Miller Lite has gained a full share point in the market.