Guinness Brewing GB has put its 12m advertising account under review for the first time in 12 years, but insists the move is not related to incumbent agency Ogilvy & Mather’s recent series of ad gaffes.
O&M’s Black & White campaign has boosted sales, but it has also created controversy after a series of ill-judged executions.
But the agency is on the shortlist of agencies for the new campaign, along with Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, TBWA Simons Palmer and HHCL & Partners, which handles Guinness in Ireland.
Before the present campaign even began, Guinness faced a furore over leaked plans to show a gay kiss. This month, Guinness chairman Tony Greener was forced to issue an apology to John Robb, chairman of British Energy, over ads showing a two-headed fish, alongside a quote saying nuclear power was safe.
In between it faced accusations of making an unsubtle reference to the death of Conservative MP Stephen Milligan with an ad depicting a leather-clad man engaged in a sado-masochistic act.
Throughout Guinness has stood by its agency, and says O&M may yet retain the account. Guinness states that Black & White achieved its highest advertising awareness scores to date, and has aided Guinness’ climb to its highest share of the beer market, with a five per cent share.