It came faster than we though but Anheuser-Busch InBev went into review
Steve’s breakdown: If you’re part of Denstu, Publicis or WPP, it’s time to call headquarters to see if you can get involved!
BTW: If you click the post at the bottom of this page, we were calling on some kind of pitch very soon. I came sooner than we thought!
NEW YORK, NY: The changes keep on coming at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The world’s biggest brewer today announced a global media agency review, just weeks after Benoit Garbe took the reins as chief marketer.
The company confirmed that Denstu, Publicis and WPP were invited to the review, and that one or more agencies may be selected. At time of publication, the three agencies invited to the review have not responded to requests for comments about whether they’ll participate.
It’s all part of an “ongoing global marketing transformation journey” according to Luiz Barros, vp of AB InBev’s data center of excellence and global media.
“This next phase of our transformation requires that we combine our internal capabilities with the external media and data ecosystem to enable deeper consumer understanding and the creation of campaigns which engage consumers in more meaningful and relevant ways,” Barros said in a statement.
The company expects to announce the outcome of the review in Spring 2022.
A shift in the sector
This marks AB InBev’s first review in five years. During that review, Dentsu was named as AB InBev’s media agency of record for the U.S., Europe, Africa and North America. WPP’s MediaCom retained media agency duties for Mexico and a number of other countries in Central America and South America. Publicis Group retained media duties in China, South Korea and Japan, while adding responsibilities in South America.
Contracts with current partners were scheduled to end in late 2019, but received an “extraordinary extension” as part of the alcohol conglomerate’s shift to a new data and media operating model. The company worked with partners in a testing phase to develop its new processes.
Since its last review, the entire economic landscape shifted due to Covid-19. The widespread adoption of ecommerce channels in the alcoholic beverage space has reshuffled priorities for AB InBev’s brands.
Throughout the pandemic, AB InBev has been investing in ways to better connect directly with its customers—something that it also says is at the center of this new marketing transformation.
“The consistent execution of our commercial strategy—centered around winning brands, category development and digital transformation—delivered continued momentum in the second quarter,” Michel Doukeris, AB InBev’s CEO, said in the company’s most recent earnings report. “Looking forward, we will continue to build upon our customer- and consumer-first approach to drive growth and value creation.”
According to COMvergence, AB InBev spent $845 million on measured media from July 2020 to June 2021, with 31% of the total going to digital. In North America, its largest market for media spend, the company spent $518 million on media, 25% of that on digital.
AB InBev reported revenue of $46.9 billion in 2020, down 10% compared to the previous year, largely due to the closure of bars, restaurants and sports stadiums during pandemic-era lockdowns. Since then, it’s seen a strong recovery. During the first half of 2021, the company topped revenue from the first half of 2019.