Betting on Billions of Busch Buying Business: RIP Breslin

Steve’s breakdown: If you are any where near the Anheuser-Busch InBev media account, Media Link is the search consultant. The main story here is there will be more account reviews as the Bud/Miller merger/hangover sweeps the globe. Get your researchers on the case.

Side note: Miller High Life was one of the first brands I ever worked on and this merger just makes me sick. FYI!

NEW YORK, NY: Anheuser-Busch InBev has begun a global media agency review, putting in play planning and buying duties for the world’s largest brewer. The incumbent on the U.S. business is WPP’s MediaCom, which has held the account since late 2014.

Globally, the goal is to consolidate the business with potentially as few as one or two agencies, although the final number has not been determined, an AB InBev spokesman said. At present, the brewer uses eight agencies spanning all major holding companies to handle media operations in more than 50 countries. Every agency holding company has been invited to pitch, the spokesman said. The brewer is using Media Link as its search consultant, while Media Path will handle auditing. The process is expected to formally begin in April with the decision coming by the second half of this year.

The review comes several months after AB InBev’s $103 billion acquisition of SABMiller, which closed late last year. It is common for companies to seek media efficiencies via agency consolidations in the wake of major mergers and AB InBev is no different. The brewer wants to “drive consistency in our media rates and ways of working,” the spokesman stated in an email.

Agency selection and media planning and buying had previously been managed locally or regionally. The review marks “the first time we have considered structuring a significant component of our marketing capability into a more consolidated operating model,” according to the spokesman.

AB Inbev is the 20th-largest U.S. advertiser, spending $1.68 billion in 2015, the latest full-year data available from the Ad Age Datacenter.

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