DDB Cut From Bud Light Review

Move Ends 30-Year Relationship with Brand in the U.S.

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Another storied ad relationship has come to an end: DDB has been cut from the Bud Light review, the agency confirmed, marking the end of its 30-year relationship in the U.S.

The Omnicom agency helped introduce Bud Light, now the country's biggest beer brand, when it launched in 1981, and has been on the roster ever since. Among the long list of the agency's notable advertising for Bud Light are "Real Men of Genius" and ads featuring its Spuds McKenzie mascot, as well as "Whassup?" and a bevy of commercials featuring the iconic Clydesdales for Budweiser.

Bud Light
Bud Light

It is believed that the agency will continue to work on Budweiser outside the U.S. AB InBev did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Ad Age first reported news of the still-underway review in August. At the time, it was understood that the marketer was looking for agencies to submit creative ideas for U.S. branding work likely to begin in 2012. It is not known now whether the scope of the review has changed, or what other agencies, if any, have been cut. Agencies said to be involved in the review include CP&B, McGarryBowen, Droga5 and possibly others.

The marketer is also searching for a U.S. media shop to handle research and planning in tandem with the company's in-house Busch Media Group, which will continue to lead domestic media-buying and -planning efforts.

The searches for new agencies come after Paul Chibe joined the marketer in June as VP-marketing. On the DDB front, Peter McGuinness joined the agency as president-CEO just as the review was getting underway. Signs of strain between the brand and the agency's Chicago office had been evident for some time -- other North American DDB offices were pitching in on the review despite the fact that the Midwest hub had long been the account's headquarters.

Bud Light is the biggest ad-spending account in all of beer, with more than $276 million in measured media spending in 2010, according to Kantar Media.

It has struggled in the economic downturn, but it remains by far the best-selling beer in the U.S., commanding 19.1% market share at the end of 2010, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Recently, grocery sales picked up 1.55% in the year ending Aug. 7, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes liquor stores and Walmart from the data.

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