Cobra hires Manning Gottlieb

Cobra Beer has hired Manning Gottlieb OMD to handle its £14 million UK media planning and buying task.

The company is planning to increase its media spend from £3 million in a bid to move the brand more aggressively into pubs and bars.

Manning Gottlieb OMD won the business following a three-way pitch against the incumbent, The Media Shop, and Total Media. Cobra's creative agency, Joshua, is unaffected by the media review.

Cobra claims to be the fastest-growing beer brand in the UK, with volume growth in excess of 30 per cent during 2007. It is looking to move into an additional 20,000 pubs and bars by July 2009.

It is planning its largest-ever ad campaign, which is scheduled to launch during the second quarter, as the first stage in achieving its aims.

Will Ghali, the marketing director of Cobra Beer, said: "The Cobra brand had grown enormously during the period that we worked with The Media Shop, and we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the agency, but we were keen to explore media options and get some fresh insights."

Once synonymous with Indian restaurants, Cobra now enjoys international distribution to 50 countries and a turnover of £126 million.

The beer brand is currently available in 6,000 UK restaurants, 5,000 supermarkets and off-licences, and 6,000 bars, pubs and clubs.