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(Aug. 31, 2001) SINGAPORE -- Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) has awarded its Anchor Beer brand to Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Formerly handled by Batey Ads in Singapore and Bates Worldwide in Malaysia, the Anchor business for both markets was realigned after an internal review and without a pitch.

The business includes brand strategy development -- entailing a total overview of the brand positioning, brand bonds, core brand values and consumer propositions -- as well as creative development and execution.

Known as the beer at the lower end of APB's brand portfolio, at one point Anchor's continued existence was thought to be in doubt. But APB Director Group Marketing Chris Kidd described Anchor Beer as "a brand with a great heritage in these markets," a sentiment echoed by John Borzi, managing director Leo Burnett Singapore: "Anchor is a strong brand with a great story to tell."

Leo Burnett now handles the advertising for three APB brands within the region, including Tiger Beer in Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as Heineken in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia.

Rick Scott-Blackhall, senior partner at the Batey Group, said, "Batey Ads understanding has been that it is the incumbent agency for Anchor. However, 12 months ago they suspended above-the-line advertising and focused on smaller trade and consumer promotions, so we have not been active on the account since that time.

"Batey is aware the below-the-line projects have been handled by other agencies," he said, "but any change in status for above-the-line work has not been communicated to us by APB."

APB, formerly known as Malayan Breweries, was formed in 1931 through a joint venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave. It began brewing Heineken beer in Singapore for export to Asian countries in 1973. It now manages Asian distribution and marketing as well. -- Magz Osborne and Normandy Madden

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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