Bass Breweries has asked two roster agencies and two non-roster
agencies to pitch for the pounds 10 million Carling account following
its split with WCRS this week.
Although the split was described as ’amicable’, WCRS and Bass are
thought to have experienced long-term difficulties over the creative
direction for Carling, an account that the agency has held for 16
The tense situation led WCRS to accept a brief to pitch for Holsten
Pils, brewed by Scottish Courage, one of Bass’s rivals. WCRS is pitching
against Leagas Delaney and TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, for the pounds 5
million Holsten business.
WCRS’s relationship with Bass had been deteriorating over the past
couple of years, demonstrated by the fact that it lost Bass’s Caffrey’s
and Worthington brands to rivals.
Bass has a wide choice of agencies which will be vying to pitch for its
business. The brewer has a number of agencies on its roster including
The Leith Agency (which works on the Grolsch and Tennents brands), Roose
& Partners (which holds the Caffrey’s account), Publicis (which has the
Worthington business) and Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper (which handles the brief
The split with WCRS means that four Bass brands are up for review -
Carling, Staropramen, Bass Ale and Asahi - which are worth an estimated
total of pounds 12 million.
Mark Hunter, the marketing director of Bass, said: ’Sixteen years is a
long time in a brand’s life-cycle and sometimes a change like this is a
catalyst for all parties involved.’
Stephen Woodford, the chief executive of WCRS, said: ’We’ll always be
very proud that we created some of Britain’s best-loved advertising for
Bass, but we both feel that now is the time to move on to new
There will be a short transitional period during which the relationship
will wind down while Bass appoints a new agency. Hunter expects to have
one in place by the end of the summer.
Bass is poised to sell its brewing arm for around pounds 2 billion
within the next few days as the European brewing industry enters a new
phase of consolidation.
Whitbread is also expected to announce the sale of its brewing interests