Funny old world as Molson Coors reviews Carling at BMB but gives it two new accounts

Those clients, they become stranger by the day.

Campaign reports that giant Canadian brewer Molson Coors is reviewing its flagship Carling account (worth £7m) at UK agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay whilst at the same time awarding the agency Corona Extra and Grolsch (worth a reported £12m) without a pitch.

So presumably Molson Coors quite likes the agency.

Well BMB, led by creative director Trevor Beattie, shouldn’t moan too much if the two new accounts are worth nearly double what the (possibly) exiting Carling is.

Maybe Molson thinks the agency’s ‘you know who your mates are’ campaign for Carling has run its course and just wants some new ideas from elsewhere.

For two years or so it’s been a good campaign but not quite as brilliant as its authors probably hoped it would be. Lads, even Carling drinkers, aren’t quite that stupid.

Or maybe Molson doesn’t want to have all its big eggs in one agency basket.

Or maybe some other bright young agency has caught its eye. Or Corona and Grolsch are struggling and it wants its best agency brains on them.

Well we could ‘maybe’ for ever. Perhaps someone at Molson could tell us.

I also take Wieden + Kennedy London managing director Neil Christie’s point (made in a recent interview here) that billings (£7m for Carling etc) no longer express accurately the worth of an account.

The problem is that, if we dropped billings for creative accounts, we’d be left with measly, quite big, bigger, very big and humungous (or something) to describe the value of creative accounts as no-one would tell us what the fee was.

Billings used to be accurate in the old full service days when creative agencies bought media too and were paid, usually, 15 per cent of billings in commission. In the case of Carling’s £7m that would have been a stonking £1,050,000 a year (provided it was advertising at the time of course).

These days I imagine a media shop gets about two per cent for planning and buying that £7m (£140,000 pa) while the creative agency receives a monthly fee which may or not relate to billings.

But is unlikely to be as generous as it would have been in the good old days.

On the upside the creative agency probably gets the fee whether or not Carling (or whomever) is on air. But big clients are probably now paying about half what they would have been for big TV campaigns, plus they do all the digital stuff.

Anyone who’s particularly interested in this might like to look at Paul Simons’ recent post which describes an ingenious strategy by Paul and Carl Johnson (now at Anomaly) to win a victory for Simons Palmer over BT’s procurement department.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.