Southerners Call on Labatt

Martin, McKinney Contend for Distributor’s Mexican Beer
ATLANTA–Two Southeast contenders are sidling up to the bar in pursuit of a beer account.
Labatt USA, which has initiated an agency review for its Sol brand, held a briefing regarding the Mexican import last week at its offices in Norwalk, Conn.
In attendance were representatives of The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., and McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C., sources said.
Other shops at the session were Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; Arnold Communications, Boston; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York; and an unidentified Canadian shop, according to sources.
Arnold subsequently withdrew from the review, which is being conducted by management consultant Monty Kiernan of the Kiernan Group in Wilton, Conn. Neither he nor Labatt officials returned calls last week.
Sol is looking to replace Amster Yard as agency of record on its estimated $10 million account. The New York shop, a unit of McCann-Erickson World Group, recently resigned the business.
Representatives of both Martin and McKinney referred calls to the client.
McKinney was agency for Pale Rider, a Miller Brewing Co. specialty brand fronted by Clint Eastwood, who starred in a movie of the same name. Print ads were tagged, “You didn’t expect Clint Eastwood to make a salad dressing, did you?” The shop has no current assignments from Miller. Martin has no direct category experience.
Agencies are due back in two weeks to present a spec creative assignment described by one contender as being “a pretty well-defined task. We are not starting with a blank slate here.”
That apparently turned off Arnold. Citing its “brand essence” creative approach, senior vice president Melissa Lea said Arnold withdrew from consideration.
“When we pitch an account, we utilize our brand essence approach, and the nature of this assignment wouldn’t have allowed us to do that,” she said. K