Greene King is understood to be reviewing its £2.5m advertising account, held by McCann-Erickson. The move will come as a blow to the agency, whose flagship Bacardi Breezer creative account is also under review. In addition, Unilever is reviewing its £60m Birds Eye advertising business (MW September 11).
McCann won the Greene King account in 1998, after the real ale brewer decided to centralise the advertising accounts for its IPA, Abbot Ale and Wexford Irish Cream Ale brands (MW March 5, 1998).
The account was previously split between two agencies, with RPM3 handling Wexford and Delaney Fletcher Bozell (now Delaney Lund Knox Warren, following its merger with FCB in 1999) working on the cask ale brands. McCann was appointed following a four-way pitch against RPM3, J Walter Thompson and DMB&B. At the time, Delaney Fletcher Bozell declined to repitch for the business.
McCann has been known for creating risquÃ© ads with sexy themes to promote Abbot Ale and Greene King IPA. Last year, press ads for Abbot Ale were rejected by The Mail on Sunday for being too sexually suggestive (MW April 25, 2002). The ads featured a woman writhing on a bed with the strapline: “Some things get better given longer.”