Constellation Brands has put its Modelo Especial beer brand into creative agency review, Ad Age has learned. The incumbent agency is WPP’s Cavalry, which has held the account since 2018.
A Constellation spokeswoman confirmed the review in a statement, saying that the brand is “engaging in the RFP process for the creative and social workstreams. We are constantly evaluating our business, capabilities, and opportunities to best position the business to meet consumer needs. This is only more important in light of current dynamics and the ever-changing environment. We value the work put forth by our partners, and look forward to bringing in a fresh perspective.”
Calvary is not expected to participate in the review. Cavalry CEO Marty Stock in a statement said: "Great work and record sales performance—Modelo has been a wonderful partner," adding that the beer "is the poster brand for marketing to a new America: a multicultural approach with different attitudes towards brands and the role of social media. Nothing but opportunity ahead."
The review comes even as Modelo continues to post impressive growth. The Mexican import has been one of the few big beer brands to gain market share amid competition from craft beers, seltzers and spirits. Modelo finished 2020 as the nation’s fifth-largest beer, with shipments up 11.5%, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. The growth has continued this year. Sales at stores were up 8.7% year-to-date through July 31, Beer Marketer’s recently reported, describing the brand as “en fuego,” citing data from Bump Williams Consulting.
Under Cavalry the beer has continued to run ads touting it as "brewed with a fighting spirit," while spotlighting inspirational stories of celebrities, sports stars and regular people. The campaign was hatched by WPP’s Ogilvy. In an interview earlier this month with Beer Business Daily, Constellation CEO Bill Newlands referred to the campaign as “one of [the] classic, greatest-all-time ad campaigns that has been developed – it’s a great horse to be able to ride.”
The brand last week extended the campaign into streetwear launching “Fighting Spirit Collections” that “celebrate the local culture and heritage in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Chicago and Miami,” according to a statement.
Constellation’s other beer agencies include Cramer-Krasselt and MullenLowe, which both work on Corona. MullenLowe continues to win high-profile assignments, including recent star-studded ads starring the likes of Snoop Dogg.
But it seems likely that the company will look beyond its agency roster for Modelo because it has traditionally kept Corona and Modelo at two separate agencies. Calvary continues to work on Constellation’s wine and spirits business.
WPP formed Cavalry in 2012 as an agency dedicated to MillerCoors. When MillerCoors cut Cavalry in 2015, the agency seemed to be on life support. Calvary gained new life thanks to Constellation, which first hired the shop in 2016 to work on Corona Premier, a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate line extension.