Rodgers Townsend has been assigned creative duties for a new beer Anheuser-Busch has is testing, sources said. It's the first A-B work for the four-year-old St. Louis shop, which was founded by two former executives with the brewery's longtime agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Adding luster to the assignment: Rodgers Townsend's ideas for the brand beat out those submitted by lead A-B agency DDB Chicago, sources said.
Rodgers Townsend executives declined comment; an A-B spokes-man said he knew of no advertising for the brand, Killarney's, which is being tested in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spending, if in line with previous A-B tests, would be minimal, limited mostly to on-premise and occasionally some outdoor.
Nonetheless, it's a foot in the door at the world's largest brewer, which has led to bigger things for other similarly positioned agencies. The brewery has long proved loyal to agencies formed by former employees or executives from roster shops who have left to form their own operations.
A-B business has been doled out to St. Louis shops Waylon Ad, founded by former D'Arcy executive Jim Palumbo, and Schupp Co., started by former D'arcy and A-B employee Mark Schupp; Chicago agencies Fusion Idealab, started by DDB creatives Dave Merhar and Mike Oberman, and the Lead Partnership, started by a group from DDB; and Open Minds in Laguna Beach, Calif., headed by former D'arcy executive Mark Chaote.
Bob Lachky, vice president of brand management at A-B, said recently that Leap is not in danger of losing the $30 million Michelob business, despite having lost several principals in the past year. K