Miller lager may drop Pilsner tag

Courage is considering dropping the Pilsner name in advertising for Miller Pilsner lager when it relaunches the brand in May.

The company, which handles the marketing and distribution for Miller Pilsner, is doubling the brand’s advertising spend to £6m in the relaunch.

It is thought Courage wants to focus on the Miller brand in the advertising, and that the Pilsner tag could detract from the brand name.

Courage last relaunched Miller in 1991. The brand was originally launched in the UK in 1986 as Miller Lite, but was renamed Miller Pilsner after consumers confused it with low-alcohol lager.

Courage has awarded the £6m advertising business for Miller Pilsner to Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe after putting the account up for review in November. A pitch list was drawn up with incumbent BMP, Grey, Young & Rubicam and RKCR.

Courage denies that it will drop the Pilsner tag altogether. It says it will keep the name on the packaging.

The Miller account has been with BMP DDB Needham since the brand was launched in the UK in 1986. The agency created a succesful campaign for the brand in 1988, using the Hollies song “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.

However, Courage group executive director John Nicolson says: “Since the successful `Brother’ commercial, the advertising has lacked strategic direction and creative consistency. Our brief called for the new work to address these issues.”

Courage first appointed RKCR to its agency roster last June when it awarded the agency its £1m Directors Bitter account. A new campaign for Directors is due to break next week.

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