CAMPAIGNS: Sponsorship; Miller time for Brit Brat pack

Client: Miller Brewing Co and Matthew Clark Taunton

Client: Miller Brewing Co and Matthew Clark Taunton

PR Team: Biss Lancaster

Campaign: Miller Genuine Draft Sponsorship of 1996 NME Brat Awards,

Shows and Bus Tour

Timing: December - January 1996

Budget: pounds 100,000

Miller Brewing Co is the second-largest brewer in the US and third-

largest in the world. Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) was launched in the

USA in 1986 and is one of the top ten premium packaged lagers (PPLs)

there. Introduced in the UK in 1992, MGD competes in an overcrowded

market with brands such as Budweiser and Becks. A big MGD marketing push

began in 1995 and the brand aims to be top in the PPL market in the UK

by the year 2000.


To raise brand awareness of MGD and promote trials among the core target

audience of 18 to 25 year old males. Biss Lancaster’s brief was to find

a sponsorship vehicle with sampling opportunities, competitions and



Miller has an established involvement with music in the US and was keen

to create a similar involvement in the UK by sponsoring the New Musical

Express Brat Awards.

As well as sponsoring the Brats, Miller also backed the Brat Bus Tour

featuring four new bands playing nine cities around the UK and Europe

and a week-long series of gigs at London’s Astoria featuring 20 new


Miller’s involvement was flagged up in photographs and editorial

mentions in NME’s coverage of the Brats throughout December and January,

including sponsorship of the NME Gig Guide for a month. Two NME/MGD

Brats tapes were cover mounted on consecutive NME issues.

MGD got branding at all gigs, the awards ceremony and party, with joint

branding on gig tickets, the Brat Bus and all advertising and publicity.

MGD was supplied exclusively at the awards and party and was sampled by

celebrities such as Oasis and Pulp. MGD also presented the Best New Band

Award to Supergrass with a year’s supply of MGD.

The sponsorship was only finalised in mid-November so Biss Lancaster had

a short lead time. It focused on regional coverage in the cities

hosting the Brat Bus Tour, running competitions and securing editorial

previews. The IPC press office worked on general coverage for the Brats

and music publicists Anglo Plugging secured radio and TV coverage.


Biss Lancaster estimate the total reach of branded press coverage was

8,233,423, total reach of coverage in the NME at 5,128,000 with around

20 per cent of the national coverage branded. The Independent Weekend

mentioned MGD in its Brat Bus Tour listing and ran a competition. The

Newcastle Evening Chronicle and Glasgow Daily Record ran previews of the

Bus Tour and competitions and Scotland on Sunday reviewed the Glasgow


MTV covered the Brats in two programmes and there was further branding

on the Big Breakfast, and Shift on ITV. Radio One covered the Brats live

and there was national and regional coverage of the Bus Tour. The tour

and Astoria also offered direct contact and sampling opportunities with

25,000 highly targeted consumers.


A well targeted sponsorship, with plenty of added-value opportunities in

terms of sampling and editorial. The level of branded editorial was

rather disappointing with an over dependence on competitions. But Miller

marketing manager David Hughes, said that for a first time sponsorship

of the event, and considering the short lead time, it worked and Miller

is now in discussion with NME with hints of a three-year deal in the


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