Budweiser consumer brief is put out to pitch

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch (A-B) is staging a UK consumer PR pitch for its Budweiser brand.

The account is currently held jointly by Consolidated Communications and Cake, both of which are understood to be involved in the repitch.

In a statement, A-B said: 'We have invited a number of companies, including our retained PR agencies, to submit proposals for Budweiser PR business for 2003.'

Both incumbent agencies refused to comment on the re-pitch, which is set to conclude within the next month.

Similarly, A-B PR manager Lesley Laity, who reports to marketing director Randall Blackford, would not be drawn on the duration or reason for the re-pitch.

In January 2000, A-B split its consumer PR work between two agencies - GCI and Consolidated - to reflect what it said were the increasingly diverse PR needs of the brands and their associated events (PRWeek, 21 January 2000).

GCI - which had worked on the brand for around 12 years - ceased to work for A-B from the start of 2001, when Cake was hired.

Consolidated has handled PR campaigns for Budweiser's football sponsorship.

A recent example was this summer's Budweiser Cup, a bespoke football tournament for which amateur football teams travelled to the Far East for an event set up to co-incide with Bud's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup finals.

Meanwhile, Cake has worked on Budweiser's sponsorship of music events, for example handling press relations at the annual V music festivals.

A-B - whose UK headquarters are in Mortlake, west London - two months ago lost a Court of Appeal ruling on brand-name usage against Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar.

The ruling, the latest in a long-standing global dispute between the two companies and their similarly-named brands, means both retain the rights to use the same Bud and Budweiser names in the UK.

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