Bass Breweries seeks shop after WCRS split

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.

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

years.



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

for Hooch).



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

pastures.’



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

soon.



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