Cobra has approached a number of undisclosed agencies, but has not yet drawn up a shortlist or decided on formal plans to hold a creative pitch.
Cobra has finally kicked off its hunt for a new agency after the incumbent, Team Saatchi, was forced last July to resign the account because of conflict with its £14 million Carlsberg-Tetley business, a client of its agency parent, Saatchi & Saatchi. According to a statement issued at the time, Team Saatchi said the conflict arose because the two companies had become increasingly competitive in the Indian restaurant sector.
Team Saatchi first won the Cobra account in 1997 and was re-appointed last year after a two-year split. In March, it created Cobra's first TV and cinema commercial, called "carwash", in its first major bid to tackle the market dominance of the major brewers and the rival Indian brand, Kingfisher. The ad ended with the strapline: "Cobra bottled beer. Ingenious because less gaseous."
In July, Cobra reinforced its entry into the mainstream beer market with the launch of a distinctive new packaging, created by Williams Murray Hamm.
To win over premium beer drinkers, Cobra unveiled a new label and a new bottle, which bears six embossed icons that tell the story of the brand.
Cobra Beer is one of the fastest-growing beer brands in the UK, with a retail turnover of £56.9 million. It has been exported to more than 30 countries worldwide and is available in more than 5,000 Indian restaurants and in major supermarkets and off-licences in the UK.