AB InBev moves closer to ‘major shift’ in European media planning

AB InBev is to consolidate all media buying across Europe, a move it says will kick start a “major shift” in how it drives efficiencies from its media buying strategy.

Brands such as Stella Artois will benefit from AB InBev's pan-European media strategy.
Brands such as Stella Artois will benefit from AB InBev’s pan-European media strategy.

The world’s biggest brewer has handed media planning and buying responsibilities to its UK shop Dentsu Aegis following a six-month review. It paves the way for more integrated channel activation for brands such as Stella Artois and Corona across its nine markets in the region.

Jean-Jacques Velkeniers, marketing vice president for AB InBev’s European business, said: “AB InBev is in the process of making a major shift in our planning so this has been the perfect time to assess both the type of agency support we need and which of our agencies could best provide this across Europe.”

The review was done in tandem with the search for a new media agency in the US. WPP Group’s Mediacom won the business as the brewer sets in place a global overhaul of how it targets drinkers with increasingly fragmented media consumption habits.

AB InBev has been working toward such a shift ever since it started ploughing funds from TV into social media. In 2012, the company’s chief marketing officer told Marketing Week it saw television as a “secondary medium” and often gained better returns on investment from social media.

In the years since, the business has hired a global director for digital connections and axed its in-house media arm in the US to outsource media buying.

AB InBev’s clamp down on media spending stems from the need to trim billions off its annual operating costs following its buyout of Mexican brewer Modelo in 2013. Additionally, the brewer has voiced concerns about rising media inflation of up to 20% in some markets leaving it with no other viable alternative but cheaper digital channels.

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