Deutsch Picks up Creative Duties for A-B

But Brewer Declines to Reveal Which Beer Brands Interpublic Shop Will Handle

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- This Bud -- or maybe Michelob, Busch, Rolling Rock or Land Shark Lager -- is for Deutsch.

A representative for the No. 1 U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch said the Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned agency's New York office is handling a "variety" of creative assignments for the King of Beers, though it wasn't immediately clear which brands Deutsch is working on.

Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago, is A-B's lead agency and tends to dominate creative assignments for its two largest brands, Bud Light and Budweiser. The shop has seemingly tightened its grip in recent months by landing creative responsibilities on two major brand extensions, the newly launched Bud Light Lime and the forthcoming Budweiser American Ale.

A-B also works with Havas' Euro RSCG; independent Cannonball; Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and LatinWorks, among other agencies. The only other Interpublic-owned shops on the brewer's roster are Momentum and Hill Holliday. The latter produced some memorable Super Bowl ads for the brewer earlier this decade but hasn't done much for it in recent years.

The brewer, of course, recently agreed to be acquired by Belgian-Brazilian InBev in a $52 billion takeover. InBev has sworn publicly -- and to A-B marketing executives in private -- that advertising and sponsorships will be largely exempt from the $1.5 billion in cost cuts it intends to apply over the next three years. And A-B's top marketing leadership is expected to stay on under the new regime.

Executives at A-B's agencies have acknowledged concerns about possible cuts to their fees and margins under the newly merged company, which will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev, but they say they do not expect to walk away from their piece of a $1.3 billion marketing budget, which is by far the largest among U.S. brewers.
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