Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch has put its PR account for Budweiser,
the UK’s best-selling premium packaged lager, up for grabs.
Anheuser-Busch has drawn up a shortlist of agencies, including incumbent
GCI Group. Fees, although undisclosed, will account for a sizeable chunk
of Budweiser’s pounds 30 million European annual marketing spend.
The brand, which will include at least three products - Budweiser, Bud
Ice and Bud Lite - has a long-standing relationship with GCI as its UK
consumer and trade agency. The relationship dates back 12 years,
although GCI only started working on the brand after it bought Lay and
Partners in 1994. Anheuser-Busch continues to retain GCI for its other
main beer brand, Michelob.
Whichever agency is appointed will report to James Lousada, marketing
director for Anheuser-Busch in the UK. Lousada was unavailable for
comment as PR Week went to press.
Although Budweiser has cornered 33 per cent of the UK bottled lager
market, Anheuser-Busch is keen to further increase its share.
The Budweiser account may be awarded to a single agency, as currently,
or chopped into pieces - possibly with specialist agencies appointed on
particular briefs such as sponsorship.
Sponsorship plays an important role in Budweiser’s PR, as the brand is
seeking to align itself with target audiences such as style leaders and
males aged 18 to 24. Sponsorship events include youth orientated sports
such as basketball and music events such as the V99 festival.
During the summer, GCI was involved heavily in sponsorship events to
promote Budweiser as a contemporary, cutting-edge brand. The agency’s
role included developing events, under the umbrella logo of B, around
the themes of film, music and design.