A-B InBev Launches Review for Michelob Ultra

Growing Brand's Account Has Been With Palm & Havas

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Anheuser-Busch In Bev is launching a review for its growing Michelob Ultra brand.

The work has been with Havas' Palm & Havas in Chicago, and it's not immediately clear if the shop will be participating in the review. The review is being handled internally, according to people familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for the marketer confirmed the review but did not provide much detail beyond noting that "we always evaluate programs and partners." Palm & Havas did not respond to a request for comment.

The review comes as A-B InBev is moving its U.S. sales and marketing execs to New York City from St. Louis. The New York office will be run by U.S. Marketing VP Jorn Socquet, who took the post earlier this year, and U.S. VP-Sales David Almeida.

The beer giant has made a string of agency changes this year. The marketer recently severed its remaining ties with Translation, which were for the Made in America event. The shop previously worked on Bud Light and its line extensions, but BBDO took both those businesses. Earlier this year, A-B InBev outsourced media buying to WPP's MediaCom, which is also based in New York. MediaCom took over media planning from Publicis Groupe's Starcom, which is based in Chicago.

Budweiser and Bud Light spend far more on advertising than Michelob. According to Ad Age's DataCenter, the marketer spent about $52 million in 2013 on the Michelob brand, which includes spending for Michelob Ultra. Spending on the Budweiser brands was $460 million.

Despite the relatively low spending, the brand is growing at an impressive clip. Michelob Ultra is the seventh-largest beer brand by sales, according to IRI. In the 52-week period ending Nov. 2, Michelob Ultra sales were up 11.8% to $887.5 million.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

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