Budweiser in, Heineken out at AKQA in the US

Anheuser-Busch InBev has named AKQA as its US digital agency for Budweiser, Bud Light and Stella Artrois, replacing Heineken at the WPP-own company. Heineken is in the process of moving its digital work to above-the-line agency Wieden+Kennedy.

In US terms AB InBev is much bigger than Heineken although Heineken is one of the fastest-growing imports. AB InBev has been ringing the agency changes recently, moving biggest brand Bud Light from DDB to Mcgarrybowen and then dumping the agency after eight months in favour of roster agency Translation. The moves follow the appointment of Paul Chibe as AB Inbev marketing boss a year ago. Here’s busy bee Paul talking about Bud’s music promotions.

WPP bought AKQA for $540m earlier this year so the Budweiser win will please boss Sir Martin Sorrell. There is a potential cloud on the horizon though as WPP also recently won Budweiser rival Coors, for which it has set up yet another Team WPP agency Cavalry, based in Chicago.

AKQA chairman Tom Bedecarre (left) pours cold beer on any such conflcit problems: “we don’t share personnel with other WPP agencies,” he says, so “we don’t see any conflict.”

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