Publicis Groupe is the big winner in Anheuser-Busch InBev's incumbent-only global media review, taking the account in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe and Asia. Dentsu retains the business in Canada and Africa. WPP also participated in the review, which began late last year.
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MediaLink oversaw the review.
Anheuser-Busch InBev declined to disclose the size of the global media account, which includes brands such as Budweiser and Stella Artois globally, as well as Corona outside the U.S. The world’s largest brewer in 2021 spent more than $5 billion on worldwide advertising and marketing, according to Ad Age Datacenter estimates.
“More than selecting a media agency, our goal with this review was to choose a Transformation Partner that can help us to accelerate our journey and deliver strong business growth. Publicis Groupe and Dentsu demonstrated over the years working with us the collaboration required, and they invested heavily in new capabilities and talents that will leverage data and technology to allow us to be more innovative, efficient, and effective with our media strategies. More than that, they will be our strategic partners to deliver value across the entire commercial organization,” said Luiz Barros, Global VP, data and media.
“We are extremely proud to extend and grow our long-standing media partnership with ABI,” said Arthur Sadoun, CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe. “The strategic work we’ve delivered together, across APAC, LATAM, and most recently with data and technology from Epsilon, has laid a strong foundation for our future together. Now, working globally together, our integrated model and capabilities will help ABI further accelerate their transformation.”
The brewer last conducted a media agency review in 2017 when Dentsu's Vizeum won the majority of the business: media planning and buying duties in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Africa. (Dentsu later folded Vizeum into iProspect.) Publicis Media's Starcom had handled the account in Colombia and Asia-Pacific; and WPP's MediaCom in Mexico, Middle Americas and South America.
Publicis will assume responsibility for the brewer’s media business starting in July, according to a letter sent to the company’s distributors. Dentsu chose not to defend its U.S. business, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"We’ve been on a journey to transform the way we leverage media since 2014, beginning with the decision to move to agency-led media planning and buying," the letter stated. "Since then, we’ve increased our investments in digital, used data to better target our key audiences, expanded investments in e-commerce and shopper media, and restructured the way we plan and buy local media, among other things."