Bud Light Moves to BBDO

Shifted to Translation last August

As if being in Cannes wasn’t enough reason to celebrate the week, BBDO global chief Andrew Robertson can lift a glass to winning the America's largest beer brand, Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch InBev is moving responsibilities on Bud Light in the U.S., from independent agency Translation, to the Omnicom shop.

“Effective immediately, BBDO joins our agency roster with responsibility for strategic planning, account service and creative development for the Bud Light brand,” said Paul Chibe, vp, marketing Anheuser-Busch in the U.S. “Translation remains a valued partner with creative responsibility for the Bud Light extensions.”

BBDO becomes Bud Light's fourth creative agency partner in the past 18 months. Translation, which picked up the business last August, just eight months after it was awarded to mcgarrybowen, will continue to work on brand extensions like Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime and event marketing for brand sponsorships. Mcgarrybowen and Translation were tasked with reversing the brand's market share decline after prevailing in an agency review, concluded in late 2011. The agencies replaced Bud Light's longtime agency DDB, which had worked with the brand since its inception in 1981.

Energy BBDO, the agency’s Chicago office, is handling the Bud Light account in order to avoid conflicts with Guinness, managed out of BBDO New York. Measured media spending is estimated at $350 million.

In an worldwide internal note, Robertson noted the reasons he thought were behind the brewer's decision: “The quality and efficacy of the work we are able to show for other clients, the experience the CMO (Chibe) had working with us when he was at Wrigley (and) the experience key players in AB InBev had previously enjoyed working with Almap BBDO in Brazil.”

Chibe, who joined AB in 2011 after 11 years in different marketing positions at the gum and mints company, previously worked closely with Wrigley creative lead agency, Energy BBDO.  In addition, the Chicago agency’s CCO Dan Fietsam is familiar with the brand, having worked on Bud Light while at BBDO sister agency DDB from 2004 until 2007.

Along with brand extensions, Translation will also keep some of its NFL assignments for Bud Light, which are already in the works. Both that agency and BBDO will handle Super Bowl advertising, which is expected to mark the debut of BBDO’s initial efforts.