Anheuser-Busch InBev has found a new agency for media planning and buying in the U.S., where the brewer spends some $575 million in media each year.
MediaCom landed the assignment after a review that began in July, the brewer has confirmed. Sources previously identified the other finalist as Publicis Groupe’s Spark. A search around media planning and research began in April and grew to include buying in late summer.
In making the selection, Jorn Socquet, vp of marketing at A-B, cited MediaCom's experience and capabilities, adding that the agency will manage the business out of its New York office. The shop is a unit of WPP Group's GroupM.
The account represents a roll-up of business that previously was split between Starcom (research, planning) and A-B InBev in-house group, Busch Media (buying). So, the winner is adding an account that’s bigger than what Starcom is losing. MediaCom's win comes just after the shop added $150 million in Merck business.
The brewer’s top brands include Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, Stella Artois.
The finalists emerged last month from a broader field that also included OMD. The domestic search follows a series of A-B InBev media pitches outside the U.S., which concluded in the first quarter.
As a result of those contests, the company split its business among four agencies. Starcom landed media responsibilities in China, replacing MediaCom; Zenith Media took business in Latin America from Havas Media and UM; and Zenith and Havas retained their accounts in France and Mexico, respectively. The consultancy R3:JLB managed those pitches.
(This story has been updated.)