Skunked Beer Pitch

Was it a case of chemistry gone awry or a review process grown twisted?
Boston shop Arnold Communications last week withdrew from the pitch for Boston Beer Co.’s $10-12 million account. A statement issued to FROM WHO?Arnold employees said the client had “some process and creative issues that even our best thinking won’t be able to solve.”
Sources, however, said that Arnold pitched a tagline–“Welcome to the show”–that was shot down in focus groups. While it kept pitching new ideas, some of the chemistry was lost. “It was not a positioning we could own,” said a client source.
That’s not the whole story, argued Arnold sources who, as evidence of how “unorthodox” the review had become, pointed out that the shop was invited to attend a focus group only to find the competition was there.
A Boston Beer representative termed the focus group incident an “unfortunate mistake,” but dismissed the other issues raised by the shop.
The remaining finalists are Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and McCann-Erickson.
–Judy Warne