CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Crown Imports is shifting creative duties on Corona Light to Publicis, New York, from longtime shop Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago.
The agency shift signals a clear change in strategy for Corona Light, which has shared Corona Extra's "vacation in a bottle" positioning for years, with the brands often appearing side by side in the same ads.
In an internal memo announcing the move, Crown's chief marketing officer, Jim Sabia, said: "We feel that Corona Extra and Corona Light represent two large brands and two distinct pieces of business that can be best maximized via two separate agencies. It is time to develop a distinct image for Corona Light, and Crown will be working with Publicis in this area, as well as increasing support behind this brand."
The brands have also seen divergent sales trends: Corona Extra has seen two straight years of declines following 16 years of uninterrupted growth that saw it go from an exotic import to a ubiquitous mainstream brand. And it has continued to struggle this year amid a brutal market for pricey imports.
Corona Light, by contrast, has been growing and gaining distribution of late.
The agency switch also marks a return to the beer category for Publicis, which earlier this decade worked on Heineken Lager and Amstel Light, a five-year body of work that included Heineken's well-regarded "All About The Beer" campaign.
Corona is the No. 1 U.S. import beer, and Corona Light ranks No. 6. The two brands spent a combined $56 million on measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, although the vast majority of the spending was devoted to Corona Extra.