Imported Ale Leaves Dallas for San Diego Agency

Scottish & Newcastle Importers Co. has shifted ad duties from FFwd to VitroRobertson following a review for its Newcastle Brown Ale.

FFwd of Dallas handled creative and media duties for the brand for just over a year, but the review was launched when Newcastle “reached a creative crossroads” with FFwd, client commercial director Bill Wetmore said.

Winning Newcastle last summer brought FFwd formally back into the beer category following the 1999 loss of the $10 million promotions account of Labatt USA, marketer of labels such as Rolling Rock and Dos Equis. (It had done project work for brands like Bass Ale and Pete’s Wicked Ale in the interim.)

FFwd did not defend the Newcastle business. VitroRobertson in San Diego contended against Match in Atlanta, sources 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]. Wetmore declined to be specific about the budget.

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 and stay top-of-mind for established custom-ers, he said.

Agency partner John Vitro said the account win provides the shop with a chance to “develop a brand that’s well-known in Europe but not quite as well-known in the U.S.”

Work will include print, radio and outdoor ads breaking later this fall in select markets. A national effort is expected to follow.

Newcastle’s most recent tagline, “Show what you’re made of,” will be dropped, Wetmore said.