Miller Lite barreled its way into the Nielsen Top 10 Growth Brands list this week, posting sales volume growth of 4.1% over the four-week period that ended April 27.
Over the sizzling four-week stint, the Original Light Beer picked up 0.1 points of share in the beer industry and 1.3 points among American light lagers, according to Nielsen. That was good enough to leapfrog into the No. 9 place on the list, which tracks the biggest share-gainers among all beer brands.
Miller Lite is now up 0.4% in volume year-to-date, outpacing its segment and the industry as a whole, which has eked out a 0.1% gain, per Nielsen. The brand closed out March by booking its 17th consecutive quarter of segment share growth.
“We’ve been highly consistent and disciplined with Miller Lite,” says Anup Shah, vice president of the Miller family of brands. “We’re on the right track, establishing a solid foundation we will continue to build on. And we’re not stopping here.”
Shah attributes the momentum to robust spending behind a refreshed messaging campaign, continued emphasis on Miller Lite’s points of difference versus key competitors and a renewed marketing focus on recruiting Latino drinkers, a key demographic for the brand. Another factor: ramped up media spending to counter a sustained attack from Bud Light.
Miller Lite this spring has shifted more of its advertising spending into digital media, where more of its target drinkers spend their time. The spots take Miller Lite out of the bar, the traditional home of its creative campaign, and into more social scenes and new drinking occasions.
It has continued with its functional messaging highlighting calories, carbs and taste, as well as its competitive positioning against chief rival Bud Light, whose decline continues to accelerate. Bud Light sales are now down 6.2% year-to-date, and it has shed 1.1 points of share in total beer and 1 point of share among American light lagers, per Nielsen.
Miller Lite also recently launched a new round of competitive ads that position it against other rivals, including the fast-growing Michelob Ultra and white wine.
“Competitive messaging works. And we are not resting on our laurels; we are putting our foot on the gas,” Shah says.
By going against Ultra and white wine, the brand is seeking to tap into health and wellness trends, which it has long highlighted in its messaging. It also is going after another consumer hot-button issue — sugar — with a new ad spotlighting Miller Lite contains no sugar.
“The combination of our functional messaging, plus our more-social ads, is getting drinkers to reconsider Miller Lite like never before,” Shah says.