Droga5 New York swaps Heineken for rival AB InBev

Droga5 in the US is off Heineken’s books as the Dutch brewer shifts all its Strongbow work to Amsterdam’s Cloudfactory, described as a “creative studio.” Cloudfactory won Strongbow Apple Ciders in February. This means that Droga5 will no longer handle Newcastle Brown (below) in the US, one of its highest profile accounts despite a miniscule media budget.

As it usually does, D5 has rapidly found a place on a rival roster, in this case AB InBev’s Best Damn flavoured malt drinks. The same thing happened when it lost Puma to JWT and gained Under Armor, to spectacular effect. Under Armour is now chasing Adidas and Nike hard in the US market. We wait to see if any AB InBev work comes the way of D5 in London. Strongbow in Europe was supposed to be one of its founding accounts.

Heineken says: “The work done in partnership with Droga5 has consistently ranked among the best in the industry in terms of advertising effectiveness and recall. Over the course of the collaboration, the brand has enjoyed industry-leading growth. We appreciate the creativity and humor the Droga5 team brought to their work and hope to be able to work with them again.”

Which makes the decision to part seem rather odd although D5 may have preferred the prospects at AB InBev, currently trying to merge with another mega-brewer SABMiller.

AB InBev uses a roster of agencies and it now includes two former Heineken ones: D5 and Wieden+Kennedy which now handles key brand Bud Light. To lose two such agencies in a short space of time looks a little careless but Heineken doubtless knows what it’s doing. The main Heineken account is with Publicis Worldwide.

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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.