Scottish & Newcastle Importers Co. has shifted creative and media duties from FFwd to VitroRobertson for its Newcastle Brown Ale.
San Diego's VitroRobertson won the account following a review that came down to one other finalist, Match in Atlanta, sources said.
"I really wanted this account for Atlanta's sake as much as ours," said Match founder and creative director B.A. Albert. "The city has no other beer account, but it's a category that needs to be here ... We have a very youthful market."
Match has been growing consistently, doubling billings to $20 million in the last year by winning accounts such as Arrow Exterminators, Flowers Industries and the Georgia Hospital Association.
"It's a real compliment for us to have been included [in the review] with VitroRobertson," Albert said.
The client, which has brewed the ale for 75 years and sold it in the U.S. for more than 20 years, spent less than$1 million on ads last year, per CMR. Still, sources said spending could jump to $10-15 million if the client opts for a national push [Adweek, July 8]. Client commercial director Bill Wetmore declined to be specific about the budget.
The incumbent, FFwd in Dallas, handled the account for a year. The review was launched because Newcastle "reached a creative crossroads" with FFwd, Wetmore said.
The winning pitch included "a simple and impactful way to creatively convey to people that Newcastle is smooth and easy to drink, not bitter or heavy like many other imported beers," Wetmore said.
The client also wants to generate awareness among consumers looking to enter the better beer category, he said.
Agency partner John Vitro said the win gives the shop a chance to "develop a brand that's well-known in Europe but not quite as well-known in the U.S."
Newcastle Brown Ale ranked 15th in sales last year among imported beers, according to Modern Brewery Age.