LaBatt Puts Texans to the Test

Marketing Continuum to Defend $10 Mil. Promotions Business
DALLAS–LaBatt USA has placed the estimated $10 million promotions account for its beer brands including Dos Equis, Rolling Rock, Tecate and Labatt Blue into review.
Brenda Williams, public relations director for the client’s current promotions agency, The Marketing Continuum, confirmed that a review is in “the early stages.”
An unnamed consultant is conducting the review.
Ronnie Tucker, director of marketing services at LaBatt, declined to elaborate. “Because we’re in the middle of this review process, we’re not prepared to comment right now,” Tucker said.
The Marketing Continuum will be among those participating in the review, said Williams.
Norwalk, Conn.-based LaBatt imports Canadian beers Labatt Blue and Labatt Ice, as well as Mexican labels Dos Equis and Tecate. Its premier domestic brand is Rolling Rock, made by Latrobe Brewery.
Rumors of an impending review for the account have been circulating for some time, sources said.
An industry observer said a review may have been triggered by the recent reorganization of LaBatt into a decentralized operation, which places more responsibility in the hands of regional marketing managers. It was thought that regional managers, with a stronger voice in the process, might opt for a new approach.
The $30 million Dallas shop needs to retain LaBatt’s promotions, which account for as much as a third of its business and for which it maintains an office in Connecticut.
The Marketing Continuum was acquired in July by Hawkeye Communications, a network being created out of the private equity company of GTCR in Chicago, which began operations in January of this year. The chief executive officer of Hawkeye is G. Stephen Dapper, former worldwide chief executive of Rapp Collins. The Marketing Continuum is one of the first of a half-dozen companies being acquired to form the Hawkeye network. The agency will retain its separate identity.
LaBatt’s general market advertising account, held by Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York, remains unaffected.
LaBatt also works with Cartel Creativo in San Antonio on its Hispanic advertising efforts, and with Bozell Worldwide and Amster Yard, both located in New York, on select brands.