Bacardi Opens Review of Global Ad Account

Flagship Rum Brand's Business Worth Over $100 million; Grey Goose, Other Portfolio Spirits May Follow

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CHICAGO ( -- Bacardi has placed the global advertising account for its flagship rum brand into review.
Bacardi is the world's biggest rum brand.
Bacardi is the world's biggest rum brand.

The creative duties on the account are handled by WPP Group's Y&R, primarily via its London office, which won the consolidated global business in 2005.

Nothing personal
"We are reviewing our international communication in light of changing consumer patterns," said a spokeswoman. She described the review as a "standard business practice" and said it was not any reflection of how it valued the agency's work on the account.

Bacardi is the world's biggest rum brand and, with $2.5 billion in 2007 sales, the world's fourth-biggest distilled spirit brand by retail sales.

The brand spent $35 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, but worldwide spending is said to surpass $100 million. Though handled by a single agency, creative on the Bacardi brand varies by market.

Other brands may be involved
While the spokeswoman said the review would only affect the distiller's rum brands, other sources said other Bacardi brands were also being reviewed. The company's portfolio includes Grey Goose vodka, Dewar's whisky and Bombay Sapphire gin.

It wasn't immediately clear which agencies other than Y&R were participating in the review. Other agencies Bacardi works with around the world include Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson, 180 Amsterdam and 23 Red.

A Y&R spokeswoman referred a call to Bacardi.

Changes at the top
The review comes amid management changes at the beverage giant. Bacardi on Aug. 4 announced new leadership. Seamus McBride, formerly exec VP and president-North America and worldwide commercial effectiveness at Colgate-Palmolive Co., will take over as CEO of Bacardi effective next month, succeeding Andreas Gembler, who is retiring. Mr. Gembler, 65, had been CEO since 2005 and oversaw Bacardi's efforts to integrate Grey Goose -- which it bought for $2.2 billion in 2004 -- into its portfolio.
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