2 Imported Beer Marketers Select Ad Agencies

Saatchi’s Roberts Gets 2 Birds With 1 Stone; Wells’ Silver Has New Job
NEW YORK–Saatchi & Saatchi last week was awarded the U.S. and Italian ad accounts of Beck’s beer, as rival import Heineken USA selected Lowe & Partners/SMS to handle its $40 million business following a review.
Saatchi, which already handles Beck’s $30 million account in Germany, added $20 million in billings in the U.S. and about $2 million in Italy without a review, said Axel Meermann, worldwide director of marketing for the beer marketer.
The win accomplishes two of Saatchi worldwide chief executive Kevin Roberts’ stated goals: to land a beer account and expand relationships with existing clients. Sources said Roberts pursued Beck’s for close to a year. Talks became serious once Saatchi left the Heineken review about four weeks ago.
“The end result was serendipitous,” Roberts said. “I wanted a beer brand in the U.S. and I wanted it to be a beer brand with global potential.”
Beck’s is the fifth best-selling import in the U.S., behind market leader Corona and No. 2 Heineken, per Impact Databank.
Beck’s U.S. account had been at Rapp Collins, New York. Its last TV campaign featured 20-somethings on a boat with green sails and carried the tagline, “America’s favorite German beer.” Creative Media, New York, will continue to handle media duties, Meermann said.
To service Heineken, sources said Lowe & Partners/SMS has made Michael Silver (a former managing partner and the top account manager on Heineken at incumbent Wells BDDP) executive vice president. Silver declined comment.
Wells’ former creative team on Heineken–Richard Mahan and Steve Baer–will not join Lowe. “We’re looking for bigger possibilities,” said Mahan. The pair saw becoming one of several teams on Heineken’s brands at Lowe as a step down, sources said.