NEW YORK: MillerCoors, the brewing group, is enhancing its content marketing capabilities, in recognition of the fact this strategy could help reach millennials and fuel their interest in the firm's products.

Stevie Benjamin, the company's senior director/digital media, discussed this subject while speaking at Advertising Week 2014 in New York.

Most brands have an obvious interest in engaging millennials – an increasingly affluent and influential cohort with distinctive wants and preferences.

But this imperative, for beer brands, is overlaid by another compelling piece of information: namely, that 21-34 year olds are currently only responsible for 25% of volume sales in the category.

"A lot of people, when we talk about that stat, are surprised, because they think that's really the bread and butter for beer companies – and it's not," Benjamin said. (For more, including examples of MillerCoors' approach in action, read Warc's report: MillerCoors' new millennial content-marketing play: Drink more beer.)

Engaging with that digitally-savvy audience, however, relies on far more than TV spots – a shift MillerCoors has recognised and moved on rapidly.

"I feel like we're at a little bit of a crossroads as an industry, because – to me – advertising and content are two different things," Benjamin said.

She continued, "I feel like we're at this crossroads of which direction do you go, and what's the consumer going to react to?"

Content marketing seems to provide a compelling answer to this question, as it offers a means of distributing relevant, engaging material targeted at millennials.

"If you think about how competitive it is to really win with this consumer, it does really become all about relevancy," said Benjamin.

So committed is MillerCoors to this area that it has formed an incubator program, and is conducting tests – of varying sizes – with 26 different partners.

"Some of them are much more simple and straightforward kinds of tests, so it's not that we're creating these huge shoots and all this video content," Benjamin said.

Data sourced from Warc