Miller Launches Branded Calendar

Miller Brewing Company is extending its brand to a free online entertainment calendar that it’s hoping will become a central part of consumers’ social outings.

Designed by agency of record Red Sky Interactive, a unit of Agency.com, the Miller Time Network online calendar offers local information on music, bars, clubs, sports, food and movies. The calendar also lets users download local maps, buy tickets for events or send invitations to friends.

Content for the site is drawn from USA Interactive’s CitySearch.com and Hollywood.com .

As a result, most of the events listed aren’t even affiliated with the Milwaukee, Wis.-based brewer, but that’s fine by the company, which views the effort as a way to integrate itself into consumers social lives. That’s valuable because it says research has shown that social lives are critically important to its target market of 21- to 27-year-olds.

“Miller designed this online resource to help create special ‘Miller Times,'” said Bob Mikulay, Miller Brewing Company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “This age group has told us in research that it wants more targeted results for convenience, and to save time when planning time out with friends. Our relationship with consumers is our greatest asset and this resource will help Miller lay the foundation for building a long-term relationship with this age group.”

“Today’s legal-drinking-age consumer wants more control, more choices, has greater expectations and is more technologically savvy than his predecessor,” he added. “This is the next evolution of digital marketing for a consumer packaged goods company.”

Miller also plans to use the site as a platform to promote its own events, which will be listed under a special “Miller Gigs” category. It also links to branded “advergames” hosted by the company, including the Miller Virtual Racing League and Miller Lite Digital Football.

Miller plans to draw users to the site primarily through online ads, designed by Freestyle Interactive and appearing in related content areas on heavily visited sites. For instance, an ad suggesting users “Find a sports bar to watch the game” might run on ESPN.com next to a football game preview.

In addition to ESPN.com, the buy, which was handled by Publicis’ Starcom IP, includes Yahoo and ArtistDirect.com.

The site also will be promoted on the MillerBeer.com home page, and in emails sent to consumers who have registered for updates from Miller.

The company said it plans to add more features to the Miller Time Network later in the year. The company’s flagship product site, MillerBeer.com, also is slated for a revamp.

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