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