Foster's seeks agency for shift to direct

LONDON - Scottish Courage is seeking a direct marketing agency to handle its Foster's lager brand.

The drinks giant has shortlisted several agencies and plans to move a significant portion of the brand's spend below the line to strengthen relationships with customers.

The search is part of a shift in emphasis toward direct marketing by Scottish Courage. Last month it appointed Positive Thinking to handle Strongbow's direct account following a pitch against several agencies including Arc and Generator.

Foster's advertising agency M&C Saatchi is not affected by the review.

The brand is the UK's fifth-biggest selling lager in the off-trade, behind rivals such as Stella Artois and Carlsberg, according to TNS Superpanel. According to Mintel, Foster's was the biggest spender on advertising in 2004.

Foster's has become more involved in experiential marketing this year and was headline sponsor of Virgin Radio's event Foster's Weekend at Dave's in September.

In May it supported the launch of its Super Chilled extra-cold variant with a national poster campaign using the strapline "Well you wouldn't want a warm beer, would you?"

The three executions showed Australians taking advantage of a series of situations to keep their beer cool.

Foster's is a leading sponsor of Formula 1, though Scottish Courage has signalled that it will not renew its deal with the governing body. It has recently become one of the first big-brand partners of the A1GP motorsport format, having agreed to become an official sponsor of the A1 Team Australia.

Scottish Courage was unavailable for comment.

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