Sunday, June 23, 2013

11232: Delayed WTF 23—Buddy Light.

MultiCultClassics is often occupied with real work. As a result, a handful of events occur without the expected blog commentary. This limited series—Delayed WTF—seeks to make belated amends for the absence of malice.

Wanted to add a few comments regarding how the Bud Light account bounced from Translation to Energy BBDO.

When mcgarrybowen and Translation won Bud Light in 2011, it was after a lengthy, formal review reportedly including agencies like incumbent DDB, CP+B and Droga5. Regarding the final decision, Advertising Age published the following:

“We’ve decided to go with two agencies and split the responsibility,” Paul Chibe, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. VP-marketing, told Ad Age today. “When we looked at creative capability insights [and] insights into the cultural fabric of the U.S., these firms distinguished themselves from the others … and came across as highly complementary to the business need of Bud Light.”

Whatever. Once mcgarrybowen showed it lacked “creative capability insights [and] insights into the cultural fabric of the U.S.,” the total account was awarded to Translation. The historic move was not without controversy, as Translation has yet to consistently produce great work. At the same time, mcgarrybowen produced nearly nothing in its six-month stint on the brand. Plus, it appeared that Translation won the old-fashioned way—via professional and personal relationships as well as celebrity mystique (i.e., Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake).

So how the hell did Energy BBDO suddenly grab the lion’s share of the business? If there was a review, it must go down in the record books as one of the most secret competitions ever. It’s certainly possible that Energy BBDO participated in the pitch while sister agency DDB was still in the hunt. Omnicom routinely peddles multiple shops within the network like Baskin-Robbins scoops ice cream flavors. Don’t be surprised when Bud Light lands at Fathom Communications in the next six months.

But seriously, Energy BBDO? The BBDO family is already servicing Guinness from the New York headquarters. Additionally, the Chicago office can hardly be called a creative powerhouse when the client roster features Quaker, SC Johnson and Bayer. Rumors claim mcgarrybowen’s downfall was precipitated by its thorough inability to deliver digital concepts. Meanwhile, Energy BBDO collapsed Proximity BBDO into something called Xi Chicago with an embarrassing site page that could have come from GoDaddy.

In the end, it looks as if shifting Bud Light was a buddy move—with Omnicom continuing its mastery of Corporate Cultural Collusion.

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