Stumbling Heater Bows Redhook Ads

BOSTON-Amid speculation that it’s on the selling block, Heater Advertising this week will break a campaign for Redhook Ale.
Founder Bill Heater, whose 6-year-old agency has recently lost assignments from Reebok International and (see related story on page 12), insisted that for now, his agency is not for sale. “It’s important to me to save the integrity of what we do here,” he said.
Asked what sort of partner he would look for were he to sell the shop, Heater said he hadn’t thought about that yet. “I’m not really certain that’s the right thing for us,” he said.
The shop positions Redhook Ale as “a well-built beer” in a campaign breaking this week in key markets. Consisting primarily of radio ads, the effort also contains several “low budget” TV spots as well as print and outdoor executions. The campaign is slated to run in New England, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Seattle, where the brewer is headquartered. The budget was not disclosed.
Media buying is being handled by Busch Media, St. Louis, the in-house media department of Anheuser-Busch, which owns a 20 percent stake in Redhook Ale and distributes the brand.
Radio spots demonstrate what is well-built from an artisan’s point of view, highlighting people who build stone walls, hand-made guitars and log homes.
“People who care about quality and craftsmanship [symbolize] the Redhook brand,” said Steve Giuggio, Heater’s president and chief executive officer.
Bill Heater is overseeing the creative product along with Gary Koepke, who joined the agency last month as a creative director. Koepke was most recently a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy’s New York office, where he worked primarily on client ESPN.
Boston-based Heater has worked for A-B since 1994, launching products such as American Originals, Clydesdale Copper and Hurricane. That experience, coupled with the connections of former A-B executive Jeff Lawson, helped the shop land the business.