Major agency losses as 2 big brands move to New York

Last week definitely was not a good week for Chicago advertising, with major accounts moving to New York agencies and leaving the Chicago ad market bereft of $420 million in billings.

Kellogg’s is moving its U.S. Special K brand from Leo Burnett, to JWT New York. Bud Light is leaving Energy BBDO for Wieden + Kennedy New York. 

Burnett will continue as Special K’s agency in Europe and Canada. The brand billed an estimated $120 million. This spring, the agency began highlighting Special K’s nutritional benefits in an effort to bump up slumping sales.  

A Kellogg’s agency since the early 1930s, Burnett will retain the majority of other Kellogg’s brands, 

Just two days earlier, A-B InBev announced that it was shifting Bud Light, an Energy BBDO creative client for two years, to W&K. The estimated $300 million account moved to BBDO’s New York offices in April.  

BBDO gained the business after short stints at Translation, New York and McGarryBowen, Chicago, after a long relationship with DDB Chicago. 

Weiden + Kennedy’s win came shortly after it announced it was dropping client Heinken, a move that enabled it to take on the  bigger beer brand. And as Ad Age put it: “Beer brands don’t get any bigger than Bud Light, which controls 17.5% of the U.S. Beer market, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.” 

While the brand transfers are painful, Chicago still brims  with brewery business. Leo Burnett has MillerCoors; Cavalry, Coors; Cramer-Krasselt, Corona; FCB, Michelob Ultra; Ogilvy & Mather, Modelo Especial and Corona Light, and Tom, Dick & Harry, Shiner Beer.

Sidebar: The Great Lakes Beer and Spirits Trail, based in Chicago and Montreal, is being developed as the foremost beer and spirits travel community, providing detailed information on more than 1,200 craft breweries and boutique distilleries throughout the eight states and two provinces in the Great Lakes–St.Lawrence Seaway Region.

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