Czech brewery Budweiser Budvar has promoted marketing director John Harley to the newly created position of chief executive of its UK subsidiary.
The promotion coincides with the company’s search for its first advertising agency, to handle a consumer advertising campaign backed by a £1m advertising spend. The search is being overseen by Harley, who will remain in charge of marketing.
Tomas Hraba, export manager for the Czech brewery, says Harley’s appointment is a recognition of marketing’s contribution to the sales gains made by the UK subsidiary since it was set up in January. Sales of Budweiser Budvar have increased by 20 per cent in the past year, against a two per cent increase in the overall lager market.
In the UK, Budweiser Budvar is marketed as a super premium lager, competing with brands such as Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell. It does not compete with its American namesake, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch. The two are involved in some 40 court cases around the world over the rights to the Budweiser name.
Harley says he is looking for an agency that can handle an integrated aboveand below-the-line campaign, adding: “We have negotiated an increase in the marketing spend for the rest of this year, to be followed by a major boost in 2003.” He has already seen some agencies, and is selecting a shortlist of four, with a view to making a decision before Christmas.