Carling reviews £7m creative assignment

Coors is holding a review of its flagship Carling account in a move that threatens to end The Leith Agency's five-year relationship with the brand.

The AAR has approached a number of undisclosed agencies to pitch for the business. Coors has backed the lager brand with a £7 million spend during the past 12 months, according to Nielsen Media Research. Leith will repitch.

The review will come as a blow to Leith: while it retains its grip on other Coors brands, including Grolsch and Coors Light, Carling represents an estimated 20 per cent of the agency's annual billings.

Bill Simcocks, the director of marketing at Coors, said: "Leith has done an excellent job for us on Carling and will be invited to repitch. We are now at a stage in our development where we want to review the marketplace to ensure that we are working with the best agency in the future."

Leith London won Carling, which at the time was owned by Bass, in August 2000. It already had a relationship with Bass as a result of its Tennent's account, run out of its Edinburgh office.

Carling remains the UK's biggest-selling lager brand. Mintel figures put sales of lager at £11.3 billion in 2005, a rise of 17 per cent on 2000, accounting for about 70 per cent of the beer market in volume terms.

- Comment, page 44.