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Will Work Independently of Primary Shop FCB

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Coors Brewing Co. is retaining Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, as a secondary creative

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agency to longtime shop Foote Cone & Belding, according to the company.

Under the new arrangement, Deutsch will report independently to the marketer, and FCB, Chicago -- also part of Interpublic -- will continue to handle media planning and provide creative services through its offices in Chicago, New York, Toronto, San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

'All-access pass'
A spokeswoman said the move is designed to create an agency model loosely similar to one used by Anheuser-Busch Cos. and Omnicom Group. She said the No. 3 brewer intended to gain "an all-access pass to IPG to tap into their resources."

"This is not just a matter of getting FCB and Deutsch, it's being able to have more resources," she said, adding that the brewer is continuing talks with Havas' Arnold McGrath, New York, and Rubin Postaer subsidiary Open Minds, Laguna Beach, Calif., which competed against Deutsch.

However, other executives close to company are skeptical that Coors' motivation actually is to establish a broader Interpublic relationship.

Talking to Arnold
"We are talking to [Arnold] for our promotional agency search, which does include television," the spokeswoman said. She wouldn't confirm the other contenders. However, Interpublic promotions shops Marketing Drive Worldwide, Wilton, Conn., and DraftWorldwide, Chicago, are talking with Coors, according to executives with knowledge of the review.

Marketing Drive currently handles assignments for Miller Brewing Co. and denied it was participating in the review; Draft declined to comment. Arnold McGrath parent Arnold Worldwide Partners, which currently handles assignments for Miller and Brown-Forman Corp.'s Jack Daniel's, declined to comment. Open Minds handles Anheuser-Busch's Kirin.

Compensation and assignments
Final details on compensation and brand assignments to be handled by Deutsch have not yet been determined, but Coors said it plans to expand its budget beyond the $180 million it spends annually by an undisclosed amount.

"Some agencies will be given specific projects and there will be other [situations] where we will solicit multiple agencies for ideas," the spokeswoman said.

However, she also acknowledged that the budget was directly tied to sales and might be limited because sales continue to lag.

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Alice Z. Cuneo, Cara B. DiPasquale and Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.

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