Crown Seeks New Agencies for Corona Light, Modelo Especial

Importer Looks to Increase Commitments Against Both Beer Brands

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Modelo Especial, one of the hottest brands in beer, is looking for a new creative agency for its first general market campaign.

Crown Imports is putting the account up for review along with Corona Light, as the importer increases its investment in both brands, the marketer told Ad Age .

"Crown Imports is augmenting our roster of creative agencies to ensure that Corona Light and Modelo Especial have all the necessary tools to continue their impressive growth and help us achieve our overall business goals," Crown said in a statement. The importer said it has "invited a number of advertising agencies" to participate in the review, with the winner selected by the middle of the year. (It is unclear if Crown will select one agency for both brands, or keep them separate.)

Cramer-Krasselt remains the agency of record for Corona Extra, the nation's top-selling imported beer. But the agency will not pitch for Corona Light because Crown wants to keep the two efforts separate, according to a person familiar with the matter. Crown plans to keep La Comunidad as the Hispanic agency for Modelo Especial and Corona Extra. (Corona Light does not have an Hispanic agency.)

Modelo Especial, the third-largest import behind Corona Extra and Heineken, grew shipments 15.7% last year, making it the third-fastest-growing import among the top 10, trailing only Anheuser-Busch's Stella Artois and Heineken USA's Dos Equis, according to shipment data from Beer Marketer's Insights. Crown spent $10 million in measured media on Modelo Especial last year, mostly on Spanish-language advertising. The importer is planning English-language advertising, hoping to seize the brand's momentum and grow its appeal beyond Hispanics, which account for roughly 80% of its consumption.

Corona Light is the seventh-largest import, with shipments falling 1.3% last year, according to Beer Marketer's. Historically, Crown had advertised Corona and Corona Light together, but began standalone ads for Light last year. La Comunidad got a shot at English-language creative for Corona Light this year and is behind an ad now running called "Party Mashup." The spot, featuring two rooftop parties set in Los Angeles, seeks to position Light as the "social brother" of Extra, La Comunidad told Ad Age earlier this year.

Crown said it is "pleased with the [general market] project engagement" with Comunidad, but is now "seeking a long-term partner for this business."

Crown spent $51.9 million in measured media on standalone advertising for Corona Extra last year, compared with $9 million on Corona Light, according to Kantar.