Let's see if we can figure out what all that experience has taught them about selling beer. The better to predict the difference they'll make on Bud Light.
The MGD experience
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As so often happens, the creative folks had chosen "edgy" and entertainment over effective. This mistake occurs with sad regularity in the ad game for one reason: ego. To garner accolades from their peers in the ad-agency community, regardless of whether the advertising campaign actually results in sales, the "creatives" channel entertainment rather than selling power. So it wasn't surprising when the accolades came on MGD, but not the sales.
Six years into the campaign, Miller fired the agency.
The Heineken experience
Four years after parting with Miller, the same agency took on the Heineken account. Its answer for the Amsterdam brewer was the so-called "Legends" campaign. These ads were mini-movies, loaded with entertainment value, but nary a hint of anything to make Heineken seem different from any other beer. Fantasy: 100, fact: 0.
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Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
When an ad agency's entertainment-laden creative recommendations have twice resulted in millions of dollars--actually, hundreds of millions--expended behind campaigns that did nothing for sales, you'd think these bright folks would've learned a hard lesson. You'd think they'd put aside their self-serving quest for praise from their peers, and shoulder the difficult work of identifying the product aspect of Bud Light that makes it distinctive. You'd think before worrying about awards, they'd help identify Bud Light's uniqueness, and only then create avertising that makes this distinctiveness come to life in some fun, fresh, provocative fashion.
No doubt, Bud Light will find in its new agency a team now firmly committed to making ads that communicate how the beer is unique.