2 local agencies in pitch for $160mm Miller Lite biz

Three agencies – two of them here in Chicago – were tapped to compete in a MillerCoors formal review to come up with advertising ideas that will elevate its Miller Lite brand from a lengthy sales slump.

The agency with the most brilliant ideas will win the brand’s $160 million business. The brand will introduce the winning ads in March.

The local agencies are Publicis’ Leo Burnett and Royal Order, a digital agency acquired that Ogilvy, a WPP division, acquired in 2012.  Omnicom’s LA-based TBWA is the third agency in the review.

FCB Chicago, then Draftfcb, lost the account last April, after having the business since 2009. Ties go back to the parent company further than that: Coors had been with predecessor FCB since 1979.

Since April, Miller Lite assignments were handled by WPP shops Ogilvy and Johannes Leonardo, which began splitting the account with Saatchi in February.

All three agencies in the pitch have existing relationships with the Chicago-based brewer.

Leo Burnett has the creative assignment for Miller High Life and it has worked for a longtime with Burnett’s Arc promotional division.

Royal Order is essentially the same team that’s handled Miller Lite since it left Saatchi; TBWA Worldwide Integer Group works on Blue Moon. Another MillerCoors’ Chicago agency is Cavalry.

WPP set up the pitch in June 2012 after Draftfcb suffered the loss of all of its Coors business.