Miller High Life has just wrapped its second year running a summer promotion to convert competitive brand drinkers, have some fun with loyalists and improve the lives of veteran soldiers. For every specially marked Miller High Life and Miller High Life Light bottle cap or can tab returned from the purchases of 12-packs of beer Miller High Life donates 10 cents to help “Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life,” up to $1 million (read the case study).
Miller High Life Brand Manager Brendan Noonan takes us behind the scenes of this promotion that includes event marketing, in-store and on-pack promotion, social media marketing and the use of iPads as a marketing tool.
PROMO: How did you come up with the idea to take on veterans as a cause?
NOONAN: With so many people sharing the same values as Miller High Life, we knew we weren’t the only ones out there who felt this way. We first implanted this program in 2010, and after the tremendous outpouring of support it received we knew we had to do it again this year.
PROMO: Many brands partner with many different causes, what impact does this particular cause have on the brand, both in image and sales volume?
NOONAN: While any brand can write a check in support of a worthy cause, by providing veterans a High Life experience—the simple, everyday stuff like going to a ball game that so many of us take for granted—we’re helping vets live the High Life by giving them the opportunity to share positive, memorable experiences while also raising awareness of the unique issues facing those who have served.
PROMO: Can you share any results?
NOONAN: While specific sales numbers are proprietary, we are excited at the overwhelming support we have received from consumers and veterans alike.
PROMO: You have a Facebook page dedicated to this promotion, what strategies keep the page fresh and come up with new content?
NOONAN: Digital is an extremely important piece of High Life’s veterans’ support. We have a ‘Veterans’ tab on our Facebook page where fans can see photos from various veterans’ experiences, send a virtual toast to a returning solider and post a donation pledge to their profile. Fans can also use the “Cap Map” to find out where to return Miller High Life bottle caps and can tabs. A mix of consumer-generated content and branded content is leveraged in partnership with Razorfish who manages the brands’ digital assets including Facebook.
PROMO: What types of marketing do you do to generate likes to the page?
NOONAN: The ultimate goal of the program is not to generate likes, but to raise awareness of the program and encourage support of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. So, if this translates to people connecting with the brand and liking our Facebook page, that is just an added bonus.
PROMO: In your view, how has social media changed the marketing landscape?
NOONAN: Social media always brings an additional layer to campaigns by making them more accessible to consumers and letting them connect directly with a brand. It is a great way to reach and engage more consumers with meaningful content. Probably the biggest benefit is that it allows us to have an open, two-way dialogue with our very loyal consumers.
PROMO: Has the budget for social media increased over the last year or so? If so, were the fund diverted from other forms of marketing?
NOONAN: While I won’t comment on our marketing spend specifically, I can say that digital/social marketing has increased over the last couple of years.
PROMO: Is TV advertising still as effective as it used to be?
NOONAN: We introduced Windell, the lovable Miller High Life deliveryman, and the “common sense” ads years ago and our fans are still reciting memorable lines from these spots. Whether it was the one-second spot or our most recent veterans ads—our television spots seem to be something that our consumers really enjoy watching and we enjoy making.
PROMO: How does this program fit into your overall marketing plan for Miller High Life?
NOONAN: Miller High Life is all about common sense, and nothing makes more sense than giving vets a positive, memorable experience and helping to raise awareness of the unique issues facing those who have served. Miller High Life will always be the voice of common sense and helping people live the High Life and enjoy all of life’s little luxuries – and that’s what this veteran’s program does.
PROMO: What three challenges do you see on the horizon for brand marketers?
1. With current technologies constantly evolving and new technologies coming along every day, the brands that best figure out how to facilitate a two-way dialogue with their fans will win.
2. As the world becomes increasingly global and diversified, multicultural marketing—in the deepest sense of the term—will be of utmost importance.
3. Figuring out what role your brand plays in the changing economic conditions and enduring economic strife.