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Replaces Roster of Agencies Worldwide

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Bacardi today said has selected WPP Group’s Y&R to handle its estimated $160 million global advertising account.
Bacardi is the biggest spirit brand in the world but it’s been growing at a slower pace in the U.S. than other big spirits brands.

Y&R will run the account out of New York and London; the agency’s Chicago office contributed creative resources during the pitch. The agency bested McCann Erickson, London and New York; David and Goliath, Los Angeles; and Fallon Worldwide, London. Each agency handled the business in different parts of the world (David and Goliath held the U.S. business). Wieden & Kennedy, New York, also had been in the mix earlier but dropped out.

The marketer said Y&R will handle global advertising creative only, and does not include media buying, Internet or so-called below-the-line activities.

While the overall account is valued at $160 million, in the U.S., Bacardi spent $23 million on advertising in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Bacardi is the biggest spirit brand in the world. But while it’s a heavyweight, it’s been growing at a slower pace in the U.S. than other big spirits brands. Bacardi sales grew 3% to 8.4 million cases in 2004, according to Impact Databank. The top 10 spirits brands as a whole, meanwhile, grew at a 5.1% clip. In 2003 Bacardi grew at a 4.2% rate vs. 3.8% for the top 10 brands.

Bacardi also has been facing growing competition in recent years. Its biggest rival is Diageo’s Captain Morgan, the country’s fast-growing, third-biggest brand, which grew by 12.9% to 4.8 million cases in 2004. Cruzan has been competing with Bacardi on the exotic flavors front. And a number of marketers are introducing higher-priced rums, hoping to replicate the superpremium phenomena that transformed the vodka category.

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