CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; The man to enliven Michelob

Peter Jackson has chosen 1996 to put Michelob on to TV, Richard Cook explains

Peter Jackson has chosen 1996 to put Michelob on to TV, Richard Cook


When the Michelob marketing director, Peter Jackson, decided to put his

brand on to TV for the first time this year (Campaign, last week), he

found himself reluctantly dealing with a new ad agency.

BMP DDB Needham picked up the pounds 2.5 million account last March

courtesy of a global realignment by Michelob’s parent company, Anheuser-

Busch. Jackson says he was ‘sad to lose D’Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles’

but ‘you have to recognise the realities of life in a big company’. The

reality of life at Anheuser-Busch is tight central control over most

aspects of production and marketing. After all, the company actually

imports rice into China for brewing - just to be on the safe side.

Jackson has prospered as the company has developed its European

operations. When he joined in 1989 as the UK brand manager for

Budweiser, 12 people were employed by Anheuser-Busch in the UK and the

brand was licensed to Grand Metropolitan. Now there are 170 people and

Budweiser claims to be the top-spending premium lager brand.

Michelob is a different story. Despite its 100-year-old heritage, it has

always been positioned as a second-string product, albeit one of the

highest quality.

Jackson moved across to Michelob in 1990 and worked for three years in

Europe, before returning as marketing director for the UK and Ireland

two years ago. He now hopes that Michelob’s quirky TV campaign will help

to promote a brand that has never come close to its stateside


Jackson knows his beer. At North Staffordshire Polytechnic, he spent the

sandwich year on his business studies course working for Ind Coope. And,

until he joined Anheuser-Busch in 1983, he was employed by Bass on its

Stones Bitter account, among others.

The Michelob campaign will break in cinemas and on posters, before

rolling out on to television. Jackson comments: ‘Michelob has always

been a bit of a sleeper as a brand because we have been pushing

Budweiser. But now it’s our turn, and we are all hoping for big things.’