Uber cool agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky fired Miller beer as a client after the client started thinking they could do a better job themselves.

Well, when it comes to selling beer, consumers are a mighty fickle group, and the one thing that brewers need to understand is your advertising programs need to be more strategic than tactical- where is the “Just do it” of beer advertising? Why did Miller ever veer from “Taste’s Great- Less Filling” campaign for Lite that got them to the top? In the article on Ad Age, Crispin makes it clear that too many chiefs were killing the creative- a common problem in many marketing programs. If you hire pros- make sure you understand the strategy- and establish what your performance goals are.

Advertising Age - Man Flaws: Why Miller and Crispin Couldn’t Stop Lite From Stumbling
Crispin was a different story. “We just have fundamental differences over creative and strategy” said Chief Creative Officer Alex Bogusky in a statement. “Although we made every attempt to find common ground, the process of multilayered approvals of creative and strategy has made doing work we can be proud of increasingly difficult.”

Those “multilayered approvals” are said to refer to Mr. Long, who was chief marketing officer before being promoted last year; Mr. Ransom; Deb Boyda, VP-brand management; and Erv Frederick, VP-brand strategy for Miller Lite. And it’s been said that Mr. Adami, the SABMiller president, has been taking a more active interest in marketing, although it’s unclear to what extent.

‘Contradictory points of view’
“You’ve got three or four different top-tier people with contradictory points of view,” said one person familiar with the matter, expressing a viewpoint that was shared by two other executives. “There’s a constant shifting of strategy, and a lack of a common vision.”

Miller is now stuck at the height of “beer season” without a mug to present to the public. While there will be many agencies running to Miller with ideas, maybe the guys in charge of marketing at Miller should put their asses on the line and do the campaigns themselves for a whole year- and risk their paychecks on the results?

Crispin proved they knew how to add value to beer with the Twin Label Technology they developed for Molson. Miller has had a string of failures. Remember “Dick.”

The lesson to learn from this debacle is that before you roll out a campaign like “Man Laws”- make sure you understand what the intended results will be- and what you are measuring? Hits on a website are nice- but sales are more important.

Crispin will have a new beer account within 6 months. Miller will have a new agency in 6 months, but this “beer season” will be a bust for Lite- thanks to Miller making the wrong call.