Guinness reviews 12m ad business at Ogilvy

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.

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