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Bud Light Completes Its Creative Search

Mcgarrybowen and Translation to share the creative business

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Call it a split decision. Rather than assign its Bud Light creative business to a single agency, Anheuser-Busch InBev has divided the assignment between mcgarrybowen and Translation.

Mcgarrybowen will lead efforts on the core brand while Translation will work on brand extensions like Bud Light Lime and the soon-to-be launched Bud Light Platinum. Translation also will develop event marketing for sponsorships, such as with the National Football League.

Media spending on all Bud Light-branded products totaled about $300 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure does not include online spending.

The hire comes at a crucial time for the brewer, which is looking to stem and then reverse the market share decline of Bud Light, which is its largest brand and still the top-selling beer in the U.S. During the review, A-B U.S. marketing chief Paul Chibe sought ideas on how to reposition the brand, which has long been associated with slapstick, fratboy humor. Chibe told contenders to keep using humor but to make it smarter and more broadly appealing, such as in ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" campaign.

Concurrently, A-B InBev is developing new work on multiple brands that will appear during February's Super Bowl. Both mcgarrybowen and Translation are expected to have ads on the big game.

For mcgarrybowen, the appointment represents an expansion of a relationship that began last year with project work on Bud Light. The agency also worked on InBev's Brahma beer from 2007 to 2009.

The Translation hire reunites Chibe with agency founder Steve Stoute. The two worked closely together when Chibe steered marketing for Wrigley. He left Wrigley in early 2011 and landed at A-B InBev in June.

Other contenders in the review, which began in August, included Droga5 and Cannonball. DDB, the lead agency on the brand back to its launch in 1981, defended but was cut in October