Anheuser-Busch InBev brings on FleishmanHillard for corporate reputation

The Omnicom Group firm is replacing 3PM, made up of staffers from Interpublic Group's Weber Shandwick and PMK-BNC, handling the brewer's corporate reputation work.

ST. LOUIS: Anheuser-Busch InBev has brought on FleishmanHillard to manage its corporate reputation in the U.S.

"Anheuser-Busch has tremendous heritage and a wealth of assets – in terms of our brands, partnerships, community engagement, and indeed our people – that, when taken together provide a rich corporate narrative," said Gemma Hart, the brewer’s VP of communications, via email. "We want to be more proactive in telling that story in the U.S., focusing on fewer things, but doing so in a bolder and more compelling way."

In May, Anheuser-Busch launched a rebrand of Budweiser for the summer, replacing its tried-and-true logo with "America." Some reviled the name change, with at least one PR pro saying it was in "bad taste," but others tipped their hats at the brewer lighting up social media.  

A month later, Anheuser-Busch marketing chief Jorn Socquet defended the decision, deriding what he saw as laziness by other CMOs and an unwillingness to take chances.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is in the process of acquiring SABMiller for $104 billion.

Spokespeople from A-B InBev and Weber Shandwick confirmed via email that the incumbent agencies for corporate reputation were Weber Shandwick and 3PM, a dedicated group within Interpublic Group made up of staffers from PMK-BNC and Weber Shandwick. Weber and 3PM will continue to oversee brand PR and other pieces of corporate work.

When asked about the possibility of Fleishman working on A-B InBev’s pending deal for SABMiller, Lisa Derus, manager of corporate communications for the brewing giant, said via email, "This is for the U.S. business only."

A PMK-BNC representative was not immediately available for comment.

"We’re very excited about winning this new opportunity with Anheuser-Busch and are really proud to represent this iconic American brewer," said John Saunders, president and CEO of Fleishman. "We both have deep roots in St. Louis, and we look forward to our future doing great work together."

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