Leith Agency forced into Tennent’s resignation over Carling ‘conflict’

Coors UK has forced the Leith Agency to resign the £1.5m Tennent’s Lager account, following a conflict of interest over rival lager Carling. The move ends a 13-year relationship.

Until September last year, Carling was owned by Tennent’s parent company Interbrew, which did not market Carling in Scotland. The split follows a decision by Carling’s new parent company, Coors UK, to market the brand north of the border. Carling already spends £10.5m through the Leith Agency’s London branch. In retaliation, Interbrew plans to advertise Tennent’s in England.

Tennent’s has reacted angrily to news of the Leith Agency’s resignation. A spokesman for the brand says: “We were certainly happy with the safeguards the Leith Agency had put in place to prevent any conflicts of interest, but Carling obviously has its own agenda.”

Leith Agency chief executive John Rowley says: “We have tried to reassure both clients, but it has become clear that we couldn’t maintain this position in the long term.”

Leith London also handles Grolsch, which spent £6.8m last year, for Coors UK. The agency will continue to work on Tennent’s until the end of the year, but it is understood that a number of Scottish agencies have already approached Interbrew about the account.

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