'We need to stand up for our IP' - Manifest boss claims BrewDog used concept without credit

Manifest boss Alex Myers says agencies need to stand up for their IP after claiming BrewDog had executed one of its ideas, which was initially shunned, after the agency and client relationship had ended.

This is an illustration of Manifest's concept of Punk AF from a pitch deck PRWeek has seen.
This is an illustration of Manifest's concept of Punk AF from a pitch deck PRWeek has seen.

On Friday, Myers called out BrewDog on Twitter for launching an alcohol-free version of their IPA called ‘Punk AF’ without crediting Manifest for the idea.

BrewDog founder James Watt responded by claiming the execution was different to what Manifest had originally pitched while under BrewDog’s retainer.

Myers told PRWeek that BrewDog had rejected the ‘Punk AF strategic concept’ that his agency originally pitched and that the idea stemmed beyond the design of the can, which Watt had pointed out was different.

"There’s no animosity from my perspective with BrewDog, but at the same time I feel it is important that the leaders of our businesses in our industry don’t fall silent when creativity is being used without credit," Myers said.

"At the end of the day creative is our currency. It wasn’t an emotional angry thing from my point of view – I was expecting it – it was more about pointing it out. There needs to be that radical candour."

Myers said if BrewDog had given Manifest creative credit he "would be cool with that".

He said his call out was driven by frustration that clients are, effectively, using creative ideas from agencies without any credit, something which he had experienced from a "major global sports brand, one of the world’s biggest entertainment brands and massive UK insurer steal our ideas".

"Everyone has got a war story about this kind of thing," Myers said. "It’s not an everyday occurrence and we’ve gotten much better at being explicit about protecting out IP.

"But I believe it happens more in PR [than advertising] because people do the creative within the pitch process without payment. Whereas a lot of the time [in other discipline’s pitch process] you don’t do the full creative until you are commissioned.

"It’s often with big brands – there’s this phrase in our industry called ideas mining where you run a pitch process just to get ideas."

BrewDog did not respond to PRWeek's request for comment at the time this article was published.

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