Commonground was a star on the MillerCoors roster thanks to its 2011 “Cold Talkâ€ and “Cold Challengeâ€ traditional and online marketing campaign of ads featuring hip-hop mogul Ice Cube arguing with a bottle of Coors Light. Ice Cube plus YouTube-expanded versions of the commercial and behind-the-scenes takes equaled a social media campaign hit. The Coors Light spot, played extensively in the mainstream market, helped the brand overtake Budweiser as the nation’s No. 2 brew. Coors Light sales by volume rose 0.8% during 2011, to 18.2 million barrels, while Budweiser sales declined 4.6%, to 17.7 million barrels, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights, which noted that the Coors Light label grew through aggressive marketing and broader distribution.
“The campaign tapped into the spirit of competition among millennials,â€ says Islam, and “Ice Cube has cross-cultural and cross-generational relevance.â€
Commonground was initially hired by MillerCoors in 2004 to work on Miller Genuine Draft and has since become the brand’s agency of record. MillerCoors was impressed with Islam and Wright’s “passion, insight, and creativity,â€ says Jackie Woodward, vice president of marketing connections at MillerCoors. “They really understand the urban millennial–that is one of the sweet spots for beer drinkers in America today.â€
The agency uses a proprietary social listening tool that allows it to hear what conversations are taking place real-time across multiple platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) with consumers.
Commonground received considerable attention last year for its work on the Illinois Lottery account. Already on board to produce the account’s multicultural advertising, Commonground was asked by Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones to produce a general market TV commercial promoting Powerball. The spot, which showed evocative scenes of the Illinois landscape, changed perceptions about the Powerball lottery.