O&M already holds the account in North America, and will now take control of the European and African markets. The agency's work is scheduled to run later this year in various markets around the world, including the UK, and will play on the brand's quality credentials.
The appointment, overseen by SAB Miller's brand communications director, Charlie Hiscocks, brings to an end a four-year relationship with Leagas Delaney. The agency's London office picked up the account in 2001 following a pitch against WCRS and Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam. It relaunched the beer in the UK in 2003, targeting 25- to 34-year-old men who are discerning beer drinkers by positioning the brand as the world's first pilsner.
The 162-year-old beer is well-known in the Czech Republic, but the brand needs to raise its profile in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Pilsner Urquell was bought by South African Breweries in October 1999 for £420 million. It competes with the rival Czech beers Budvar and Staropramen.