The move reflects a shift in the importing rights for the No. 1 imported beer. Cramer-Krasselt and Richards Group, Dallas, had previously split creative duties on behalf of Corona's two major importers, Barton Brands and Gambrinus. Cramer-Krasselt worked for Barton and Richard worked for Gambrinus.
New joint venture
But a joint venture between Corona brewer Grupo Modelo and Barton parent Constellation Brands recently won total importing rights, squeezing out Gambrinus, and Richards with them.
Corona has grown explosively in recent years, outpacing the robust growth of imported beer in general. And much of that success is attributed to the "Holiday in a Bottle" positioning created by Cramer-Krasselt and Richards since the early 1990s.
According to TNS Media Intelligence, Corona spent $41.6 million on measured media during 2005, and that figure is expected to rise with the brand's surging sales this year.
A Richards Group spokeswoman confirmed the account loss, but wouldn't comment further.
Wasting little time, Richards has jumped into the fray for Heineken USA's estimated $140 million account, competing against incumbents Publicis, New York; Berlin Cameron, New York; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., itself recently dumped by Miller High Life after a long run.
Heineken Lager is the No. 2 imported brand in the U.S., after Corona.