Newcastle Taps VitroRobertson

Scottish & Newcastle Importers Co. has tapped Vitro Robertson to boost brand awareness of Newcastle Brown Ale in the U.S. and change perceptions about the taste of the beer.

The company spent less than $1 million on ads for Newcastle in the U.S. last year, per CMR. But sources said that could jump to $10-15 million if the client goes ahead with a national campaign [Adweek, July 8]. The client’s commercial director, Bill Wetmore, declined to give specifics on the ad budget.

San Diego’s VitroRobertson won the creative and media account after a review that had one other finalist, Match in Atlanta, sources said.

The incumbent, FFwd in Dallas, handled the account for a year. The client launched a review after reaching “a creative crossroads” with FFwd, Wetmore said.

VitroRobertson offered “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. Scottish & Newcastle wants to stay top-of-mind among established customers and generate awareness among the rest, he said.

VitroRobertson partner John Vitro said the win gives the shop a chance to “develop a brand that’s well known in Europe but not quite as well known in the U.S.” Newcastle Brown Ale ranked 15th in sales last year among imported beers, according to Modern Brewery Age.

Print, radio and outdoor ads will break later this fall in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Boston, Phoenix, Sacramento, Calif., and San Diego. A national campaign could follow. New castle’s most recent tag , “Show what you’re made of,” will be dropped, Wetmore said.

VitroRobertson will also handle off- and on-premises marketing and promotions.

Founded in 1992, Vitro Robertson has also worked on Red Bull and Ketel One vodka. The shop has $47 million in billings and 42 staffers and works with clients such as Baskin-Robbins, Yamaha WaterCraft and Asics athletic shoes.