A-B InBev Launches a Creative Review for Its $15 Million Lime-A-Rita Brand

FCB Chicago had previously handled the account

A bright spot at a time when beer sales were down, the brand has struggled in recent years following its 2012 launch. Lime-A-Rita

A-B InBev has launched a creative review for its Lime-A-Rita brand (formerly Bud Light Lime-A-Rita) and ended its relationship with FCB Chicago, which was previously lead creative agency on the account.

A brand spokesperson confirmed that Lime-A-Rita had recently issued an RFP to identify a new creative agency partner.

“We are proud of the work that was created from our collaboration with FCB Chicago and Lime-A-Rita, which has produced a number of memorable ads since 2015,” the Lime-A-Rita spokesperson told Adweek. “As the brand evolves, we continually look to refresh our perspective and evaluate our agency structure.”

Last year, FCB launched the largest campaign to date for the struggling brand, which saw a 23 percent drop in volume in the fourth quarter of 2015. According to Kantar Media, A-B InBev spent almost $15 million on measured media promoting Lime-A-Rita in 2016, up from a little less than $9 million the year before.

In March, the agency followed that effort with the “Make It a Margarita Moment” campaign as the brand introduced a series of new flavors. Those ads were created by female-led marketing and creative teams, who drew on consumer research regarding the behavior of young female drinkers (who represent 65 percent of the line’s consumers). Kantar Media puts Lime-A-Rita’s spending total for the first quarter of 2017 at roughly $434,000.

Initially a bright spot on the A-B InBev roster at a time when beer sales were down, the brand has struggled in recent years following its 2012 launch. The slip stems in part from increased competition via other beer alternatives like hard soda, hard cider and spiked sparkling water. Lime-A-Rita’s parent company has attempted to keep up with such changes, most recently by launching its own Best Damn Brewing Company hard soda line in late 2015 and acquiring SpikedSeltzer creator Boathouse Beverage last September.

Lime-A-Rita’s search for a new creative agency comes on the heels of the unlikely limited-time return of another flavored malt beverage, MillerCoors’ Zima.

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.