Hoegaarden Names Amsterdam Worldwide Global Agency

Anheuser-Busch InBev Hopes to Benefit From Growing Demand for Wheat Beers

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Hoping to capitalize on a growing market for wheat beers, Anheuser-Busch InBev today named Amsterdam Worldwide global agency of record for its Hoegaarden beer, following a review.

Hoegaarden is likely to emphasize its heritage as it tries to grab a bigger piece of the growing category of wheat beers.
Hoegaarden is likely to emphasize its heritage as it tries to grab a bigger piece of the growing category of wheat beers.
Global spending is estimated at around $20 million, less than InBev's outlay on its largest legacy brands, Stella Artois and Beck's.

In addition to introducing the beer to emerging markets such as Russia, a key focus will fall on Western Europe and the U.S., where wheat beers such as MillerCoors' Blue Moon and Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat, as well as smaller-batch products from craft brewers such as Sam Adams, Pyramid and Goose Island, have also seen prolific growth in recent years. Hoegaarden -- one of the oldest brands brewed in that style -- is likely to emphasize its heritage as it tries to grab a bigger piece of the growing category.

"Hoegaarden is a unique beer with a fantastic heritage that deserves to be even better known in today's competitive beverage environment," said Amsterdam CEO Brian Elliott, in a statement. "Anheuser-Busch InBev has a pedigree of nurturing iconic brands through great creative work and Amsterdam Worldwide intends to propel Hoegaarden into the hearts and minds of discerning drinkers."

Return to beer
For Amsterdam Worldwide, formerly known as StrawberryFrog Amsterdam, the account win also marks a return to the beer category. The agency was named Heineken's global agency of record in 2005, only to lose the account to Frank Lowe's Red Brick Road barely a year later.

But according to ABI's global director of multi-country brands, Ann Viaene, that beer know-how helped it win Hoegaarden in a pitch over undisclosed agencies, which are said to include at least one global network and one New York-based boutique.

(In recent years InBev's legacy brands have worked with Lowe, Mother, Leo Burnett and Ground Zero, among others.)

"The team at Amsterdam Worldwide has demonstrated its international strategic capabilities and knowledge of this industry," she said. "The agency showed great creative insight during the brief, and we look forward to building a success story for Hoegaarden together."

The initial Hoegaarden work from Amsterdam is expected to run during the first half of 2009.

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