Mcgarrybowen wins $300m Bud Light plus Adweek’s agency of the year award

Bud Light, America’s biggest beer brand, has appointed all-conquering Mcgarrybowen’s Chicago office to handle its $300m account after splitting with long-time agency DDB in October. Dentsu-owned Mcgarrybowen, headed by 72 year-old John McGarry, a former Y&R veteran, will be the lead agency working with rather more hip New York-based Translation, founded by rapper Jay-Z in 2008.

Mcgarrybowen has also won US trade title Adweek’s ‘Agency of the year’ accolade, hardly surprising after a stellar year that has seen the agency win about $2bn in new business including Sears, Burger King and the newly-merged United Continental airlines business as well as AB InBev’s Bud Light.

The win is a further boost for North America’s second advertising city of Chicago which was in danger of losing its position to the West Coast after a series of reverses which saw one-time big players like WPP’s JWT close down their operations in the city.

Here’s the grand old man of US advertising discussing how he does it with namesake son who runs the agency’s digital operation.

And here’s the agency’s first ad for Burger King after winning the $300m account from the much-praised, ten-year incumbent Crispin Porter+Bogusky in the summer.

Hardly likely to trouble the awards scorers is it? But it makes the food look good, which clients rather like. Japanese holding company Dentsu, which had previously specialised in buying agencies past their prime like the UK’s CDP, struck one the deals of the century when it bought Mcgarrybowen in 2008.

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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.