WPP's Cavalry picks up Modelo Especial, Corona Light from Ogilvy

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Modelo Especial 3X2
Modelo Especial 3X2

Constellation Brands has shifted the Modelo Especial and Corona Light creative accounts within WPP from Ogilvy to Cavalry, marking a significant win for the six-year-old Chicago-based shop. Ogilvy handled the account from its Windy City office.

Constellation, which runs its beer division from Chicago, characterized the move as a consolidation. "This architecture leverages WPP and will optimize our agency/client management structure to better serve our changing business needs and ensure all resources are brought to bear," a Constellation spookeswoman stated in an email. Ogilvy employees working on Constellation brands will be folded into the Cavalry team, she stated.

Cramer-Krasselt remains the lead agency for Corona Extra, as well as the Pacifico beer brand.

WPP formed Cavalry in 2012 as an agency dedicated to MillerCoors. The 61-employee shop is led by Marty Stock, a career-long beer account exec who came to WPP from Interpublic where he logged time at DraftFCB (now known as FCB).

When MillerCoors cut Cavalry in 2015, the agency seemed to be on life support. But it has survived and is now growing thanks to its Constellation wins. The alcohol marketer first tapped the agency in 2016 to handle a new low-calorie, low-carbohydrate line extension called Corona Premier that is positioned to take on hot-selling Michelob Ultra. Cavalry later picked up Constellation-owned craft brewer Ballast Point and a new flavored-malt beverage called Corona Refresca. The shop has also expanded beyond beer; it is part of the WPP team working on Tyson, for instance.

But the Modelo win amounts to Cavalry's biggest prize yet. Constellation has been spending more money marketing the Mexican import as it continues to post strong sales. Originally targeted to Hispanics in the U.S., Modelo has increasingly gone after general market consumers. Last year the brew finished as the sixth-largest beer in the U.S. with shipments up 17 percent, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. For this year, case volume sales were up 14 percent in the year-to-date period ending Sept. 8, according to Nielsen. Constellation shoveled $88 million in measured media into the brand last year, according to Kantar Media.

Corona Light is a much smaller brand, getting only about $7 million in measured media last year.

Ogilvy won Corona Light and Modelo Especial in 2014. The ongoing Modelo campaign hatched under Ogilvy touts the brew as "brewed with a fighting spirit." Ads have featured people like immigrant and military veteran Juan Rodriguez-Chavez.

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