The brewer of Samuel Adams beer has informed three agencies that their creative ideas would be tested and a final decision rendered by early August.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Arnold Communications, both in Boston, and McCann-Erickson in New York have advanced in the review for Boston Beer Co.'s estimated $10-12 million account.
The brewer will test the creative ideas submitted by the shops while giving them the opportunity to improve their work, said Boston Beer representative Sally Jackson. "We're doing a lot of research to make it . . . more on target." All the contenders requested additional time to revise their campaign suggestions.
The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and Gotham in New York withdrew from consideration before the finalists were announced.
Holland Mark Martin Edmund in Boston and Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners in New York were "discouraged from proceeding," Jackson said.
Boston Beer asked the original contenders to reposition the flagship Sam Adams brand to a more youthful audience. Of the concepts presented by the three finalists, Jackson said, "Metaphorically speaking, we gave each of these agencies the same bag of groceries and each has come back with a different meal."
Boston Beer last month severed ties with Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, which in April broke a TV campaign using the tag, "All in due time." The decision to review resulted from a desire to work with a new shop and create different branding.
"It's a pivotal time for us," Jackson said. "It takes a lot of thought and knowledge and it's really hard to do good beer advertising."
Sources said Boston Beer founder Jim Koch has been hands-on throughout the review and that what the firm needs and what he is willing to buy may be different. "It's a delicate balancing act," one source said.