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Pitch for Sam Adams Heats Up

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Arnold and Deutsch are among the agencies that have spoken with executives at Boston Beer about handling advertising for the client's flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager, sources said.

McCarthy Mambro Bertino, the Boston-based incumbent which is launching ads for the client's Samuel Adams Light, has also pre-sented campaign concepts for Boston Lager, sources said.

Deutsch, New York, handles some public relations chores for Sam Adams. Arnold, Boston, does not work for the client.

Boston Beer spends $15-20 million annually on ads.

The client has for the past several weeks been soliciting creative ideas from various undisclosed shops [Adweek, July 2]. A Boston Beer representative on Friday said she had no information about the review process, and client chairman Jim Koch and vice president/brand development Robert Hall have not returned numerous calls.

The Boston brewery is known for rigorously "testing" creative ideas with focus groups, but it is unclear if concepts from Arnold, Deutsch or MMB have reached that stage. One undisclosed contender has already been eliminated because its concepts tested poorly, sources said.

Several sources have suggested that the client—known for frequently changing agency partners and creative direction—is trolling for free ideas or trying to pressure MMB to ratchet up its creative efforts. A decision was initially expected this month but could take until September based on the length of time the testing ultimately takes, sources said.

"Taste the revolution" is the theme of ads backing this week's launch of Sam Adams Light in Providence, R.I., and Portland, Maine. The campaign includes TV, print, radio and outdoor efforts. Commercials touting the beer show people in social situations enjoying their first taste of Sam Adams Light. Ads are aimed at adults in their 20s.

It is unknown if MMB's "Revolution" themeline will be used in ads for other Boston Beer brands, the client representative said.

Recent ads for Sam Adams were tagged "The world's most award-winning beers" and were crafted by McCarthy Co. That entity was led by Joe McCarthy, who in the spring joined with Boston-based creative executives Jamie Mambro and Fred Bertino to form MMB.