It's been almost three years since the pandemic started, and the economy is still on uncertain ground. Several major brands chose new agency partners this year to help them navigate inflation and a potential recession, but their strategies in doing so varied drastically. Some decided they needed a change of scenery while others headed back to the relationships they knew well. Here are 13 of the most significant account shifts of the year.
Nike splits $1 billion
Nike’s global media review ended in July with most of its account being split between independent agency PMG and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative. The account, which covers the Nike and Jordan brands in all major markets, is estimated to be worth $1 billion and was a significant loss for WPP’s Mindshare and Stagwell-owned Assembly, which handled a bulk of Nike’s business outside the U.S. The move further consolidated more of Nike’s business under Initiative, which won Converse’s global media account in 2018.
Anheuser-Busch InBev hires Publicis
One of the biggest account moves of the year was Anheuser-Busch InBev’s incumbent-only global media review that saw Publicis Groupe take home the top prize. Capitalizing on its Epsilon unit’s win as data agency of record in the U.S. and global data partner in February 2021, Publicis took the account in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe and Asia. Dentsu retained the business in Canada and Africa. Ad Age estimated the client's global media account—which includes brands such as Budweiser and Stella Artois globally, as well as Corona outside the U.S.—in excess of $5 billion in 2021.
Bud Light picks Anomaly
While parent company AB InBev went with Publicis for media, brand Bud Light hired Anomaly as its creative agency of record for its beer account. As part of the same review, which began in June, The Martin Agency won line extensions including Bud Light Seltzer and Bud Light Next. Anomaly is no stranger to the Budweiser brand, having served for years as its lead agency both in the U.S. and globally, but the company took a more rostered approach in recent years in the U.S. and Wieden+Kennedy had taken over much of Budweiser globally since 2015.