The request for proposals that Bacardi USA distributed to interested agencies in the company’s U.S. media review is due back in the next few weeks, according to sources.
Yes, Bacardi’s review is in its early stages. Still, the maker of rum, vodka and gin expects to complete its search by the end of March. Ark Advisors in New York is managing the process.
Bacardi plans to spend $130 million in media this year, according to the RFP. Its biggest brands include its namesake rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Dewar’s scotch whiskey and Martini vermouth.
The incumbent on the media business, independent KSL Media, is defending. The identities of the other shops that Bacardi has contacted could not all be ascertained.
Ark did not return calls, and Bacardi, whose U.S. headquarters is in Coral Gables, Fla., declined to comment.
This year's projected spending total represents a substantial uptick from years past. In 2011, for example, media spending across all Bacardi brands totaled about $34 million, up slightly from about $32 million in 2010, according to Nielsen. The total through the first nine months of 2012 exceeded $41 million. Those figures don't include online spending, however.