Saatchi Takes Tecate After Review

Agency Fills Some of the Beer Void Left by Miller Lite Loss

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Five months after losing the Miller Lite account, Saatchi & Saatchi , New York has picked up another beer brand. The Publicis Groupe shop will take over as agency-of-record for Heineken USA's Tecate franchise, which includes Mexican imports Tecate and Tecate Light, as well as "potential brand extensions," according to the beer importer.

The assignment comes after a formal three-month review. The incumbent agency was Inspire, Dallas, which won the brand in March of 2013. Inspire took over U.S. duties from Olabuenaga Chemistri, which had long handled the brand in Mexico.

Heineken said in a statement that it picked Saatchi for Tecate in a move to "accelerate the brand's growth and solidify its place as the fastest-growing premium light beer in the U.S.-Sunbelt markets." The importer, citing Nielsen statistics, said Tecate franchise sales are up 3% year-to-date, including 44% growth for Tecate Light.

"Tecate is gaining a huge momentum by engaging bicultural consumers across the country, given its superior flavor, strong brand personality and values," Max Skowron, senior marketing director for Tecate said in a statement.

Saatchi lost the Miller Lite account in April 2014. The MillerCoors brand made a temporary move to WPP, before recently selecting Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide, Los Angeles.

Heineken spent $11.8 million in measured media on Tecate last year, which pales in comparison to the $160 million that MillerCoors spent on Miller Lite, according to Kantar Media. But Saatchi's ability to pick up a competing beer brand in such a short amount of time is notable.

Brent Smart, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New York, said: "We're excited to be working with one of the fastest growing brands in beer. The Tecate team has big ambitions and an appetite for great work."

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