Sauza Says Adios to Publicis

New Agency Sought for Beam Brand As Tequila Category Prospers

By Published on .

CHICAGO ( -- Sauza tequila is splitting with its longtime agency, Publicis Worldwide.

The No. 3 U.S. tequila brand, marketed by Beam Global Wine & Spirits, is conducting a search for a new agency, a spokeswoman said.

She said the search is down to three finalists, at least two of which are Publicis Groupe-owned, but she would not disclose the identities of the agencies.

Competitors gaining
Sauza is the second-largest tequila brand in the world, and its sales have been steady in the crucial U.S. market, with shipments rising 5.5% to about 1.5 million cases last year, according to the spirits trade magazine Impact.

The tequila category grew faster, however, at 7.5%, led by more upscale brands such as Patron, which surpassed Sauza as the No. 2 U.S. brand last year.

To keep pace with that trend, Sauza has of late been investing more of its marketing dollars and energy behind its higher-end Hornitos line. Sauza spent $5 million last year in the U.S. on measured media for all its brands, according to TNS.

Platino weighs in
And the segment's top player, Diageo's Jose Cuervo, took a similar step last year, rolling out its pricier Jose Cuervo Platino line to compete with Patron.

Like Sauza, Cuervo also recently swapped ad agencies, switching the business to WPP Group's JWT from Omnicom Group's Arnell Group.
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