Bulmers adds cider and lager brands to Scrumpy ad review

LONDON - Bulmers has broadened its advertising review into a winner-takes-all pitch that will now include its £8 million Strongbow cider account and the £1.5 million San Miguel Spanish lager business.

The review is being handled by Agency Assessments, which is drawing up a shortlist of agencies. The incumbents, TBWA/London, which handles Strongbow, and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which handles San Miguel, will be invited to repitch.

Initially, the client had only planned to review Scrumpy Jack, which is also handled by TBWA, and Woodpecker from its portfolio. However, its decision to include the flagship Strongbow brand and San Miguel was prompted by a wide-ranging business review, ordered last year.

The advertising review is being overseen by Bulmers' group marketing director, Jon Eggleton, who was promoted from marketing director last July.

The advertising review concludes a difficult period for Bulmers. Last September, it revealed a £3.8 million hole in its accounts, relating to cut-price promotions within its take-home business.

The discovery resulted in the departure of its chief executive, Michael Hughes, and reduced Bulmers' pre-tax profits for the year to £900,000.

Strongbow's performance is seen as critical to Bulmers' success. Earlier this year, the brand climbed to number four in Nielsen Media Research's table of top-selling alcoholic drinks.

Last year, Bulmers dropped Johnny Vaughan as the face of Strongbow. The comedian had appeared in the TBWA "live to loaf" advertising campaign since 1998.

Eggleton was not available to comment on the review as Campaign went to press.