Bacardi USA Shifts Media Duties to Mindshare

Spending for Account is Estimated at $130 Million

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Spirits marketer Bacardi USA has moved digital and traditional media-planning and buying to WPP's Mindshare from KSL, as the company's new management team continues to shake up the agency roster, according to industry executives.

In the U.S., Bacardi spent $83.9 million on measured media last year, according to Kantar Media. But overall estimated spending on the business --which includes traditional media and digital media planning and buying-- is estimated at around $130 million.

KSL, an independent agency, defended the account after the review was launched in January. It's a tough loss for the shop, which had a long-standing relationship with the marketer, gaining more work in 2010 when Bacardi consolidated most of its brands with the agency.

In addition to Mindshare and KSL, other finalists in the pitch were Targetcastand Horizon Media. Agencies either declined to comment or couldn't be immediately reached. Ark Advisors in New York, which managed the review process, declined to comment on the pitch. Bacardi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Global parent firm Bacardi Limited seems intent on making agency moves changes under CEO Ed Shirley, a former Procter & Gamble executive, who took the reins in March of last year. The company also has a new top marketer in Andy Gibson, a veteran booze industry executive who took over as CMO in February, replacing Silvia Lagnado, who left the company at the end of 2012.

Soon after, the company appointed Havas-owned BETCLondon to handle the global creative advertising for its flagship Bacardi Rum brand. The brand has been with a WPP agency since 2005, but split with WPP-backed Johannes Leonardo, based in New York, in September 2012.

Stateside, Bacardi USA rum has hired a boutique OW to work on strategic branding and creative for the rum brand. In recent weeks, the brand has put significant marketing behind its new "Pineapple Fusion" variety in the U.S. that it touts as fusing "the sweet notes of pineapple rum with the toasted flavors of coconut rum."

Bacardi has also just completed a digital agency review, at the end of which Barbarian Group, part owned by Cheil, was the winner, according to industry executives.

Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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