A-B Selects Three Finalists in Media Agency Search

Anheuser-Busch's Busch Media Group has narrowed the group of media agencies to three from which it will select one to assist its ad buying research and planning efforts for according to sources. The shops said to still be in contention include Aegis Group's Vizeum, Omnicom's OMD and WPP's MediaCom, per sources. The selected agency wouldn't get an AOR assignment, as A-B will continue to lead both buying and planning from the in house Bush Media Group.

Paul Chibe, U.S. vice president, marketing, A-B InBev, who is overseeing the effort, didn't immediately return a call late Friday seeking comment about the specific agencies.

But earlier, he confirmed to Ad Age that the hunt was on for a media shop to assist Busch Media Group's efforts, although he didn't identify specific shops.

"We can learn a lot from them and they can learn a lot from us. So it would be a win-win scenario for whatever partner we end up with," Chibe told AA.

The company has a reputation for outside the box thinking when it comes to media. Last year, it formed an alliance with PepsiCo to pool dollars and go directly to media owners to buy media at discounted rates.

That plan, however, did not go over too well with media companies and it was not clear how many deals, if any, were made under the alliance.

The agencies declined comment or couldn't be reached at deadline.

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