Cheap beer gets boost from bum economy
MILWAUKEE Miller Brewing Co.’s chief executive, Tom Long, said Thursday that the company has seen an increase in the sales of less expensive beers, such as Milwaukee’s Best, since January. Long attributed this trend to conditions in the U.S. economy and added that while consumers are spending less on beer, they still seem to want plenty of choices.
“We’re trying to make sure across the portfolio, we’ve got something people are going to want to drink … Whether they’ve got a pocket full or they’re feeling a little bit pinched, that we have the right beer for them,” Long said.
Long reported that his company’s two largest brands, Miller Lite and Miller High Life, each rose 1.1 percent in sales. Sales of Miller Lite account for about 46 percent of the company’s business and High Life accounts sales make up about 14 percent. A newly launched “Take Back The High Life” campaign has helped to turn around a three-year decline for the brand, the company said.
At the close of the last fiscal year, ended March 31, Miller reported its revenue went up 4.8 percent to $5.1 billion. Earnings climbed 27 percent to $477 million for the whole year—however, $33 million came from a settlement.
In October 2007, the New York Times reported that Miller and Molson Coors Brewing Co. had announced plans for a merger. The creation of MillerCoors, combining the second and third place U.S. Brewers’ business, would help the companies stay competitive against No. 1 U.S. brewer, Anheuser-Busch, the companies said. Final approval is needed from the government, but the merger should be on track by this summer, Long said.
Pepsi revamps Web site, boosts digital media presence
PURCHASE, N.Y. Pepsi-Cola North America has given its Web site, pepsi.com, a total makeover.
The purpose of the Pepsi site re-launch was to simplify the visitor experience, the company said. Pages were designed so users can easily select links to four main features, including: the Design Our Pepsi Can promotion contest, Diet Pepsi Max information pages, the Pepsi Racing page featuring NASCAR tie-ins and Pepsi Stuff, the site’s merchandise page.
“Lots of assets live on our pages,” John Vail, director of interactive marketing group for Pepsi-Cola North America said. “We wanted to make an easy way to find so consumers don’t have to hunt and peck.”
Pepsi.com was launched in 1996 and gets a facelift about every two years. The company said that the site receives about a million unique hits per month.
Each year, Pepsi North America seems to move even more of its marketing efforts to digital media. In 2007, the company spent about $17.5 million on digital media for its beverage brands, nearly doubling the amount spent in 2006 ($9.4 million), according to reports.
Del Monte names Pearce its first CMO
NEW YORK Del Monte Foods today announced that William Pearce will chair the newly created positions of company chief marketing officer and senior vice president.
“We’ve created the position of [chief marketing officer] to further elevate our focus on marketing strategy, innovation, and execution across our portfolio,” Del Monte chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wolford, said in a news release. “This centralized organizational structure located in San Francisco will continue to build on our marketing success, enhancing marketing’s role in lead our future strategy.”
Wolford added that he “looks forward to leveraging [Pearce’s] proven track record of attracting top talent.”
Pearce joins Del Monte after serving as chief marketing officer at Taco Bell. Del Monte is currently working towards centralized marketing operations at the San Francisco headquarters, and also integrating pet and consumer marketing teams.
In addition to heading marketing operations, Pearce will also be responsible for covering pet and consumer campaigns, and package design and promotions.
Del Monte has not said whether it will up its marketing spending this year or not. But, in 2007, Del Monte’s advertising budget was around $18 million.