Anheuser-Busch InBev is contacting agencies about its North American business handled by Starcom, sources said. It's not clear if the brewing giant is about to launch a formal review.
A-B InBev's measured media spending in 2013 was $575.4 million, according to Kantar Media.
In late 2011, Starcom was selected to assist the company’s internal media planning and research, with responsibility across A-B InBev’s beer brands across national, local and digital media. Busch Media, the company’s long-time media lead, continues to handle media buying.
A rep at the Publicis Groupe media network declined comment as did execs at A-B InBev.
Starcom was the winner after the 2011 agency search, launched by U.S. vp Paul Chibe, who joined in June of that year. Chibe left A-B InBev earlier this year and has been replaced by Jorn Socquet, A-B InBev’s Canadian head of marketing since 2010.
In February, A-B InBev completed an international review, handled by consultants R3:JLB, which ended in a split decision: Starcom picked up the account in China, replacing MediaCom, and Zenith picked up new business in Latin America from Havas and UM. Incumbents Zenith and Havas retained the client’s media work in France and Mexico, respectively.
In addition to Budweiser, AB InBev also owns beers like Beck's and Stella Artois.