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
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.’