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SAB Miller to back Pilsner Urquell with £50m campaign

LONDON - SAB Miller is to back its premium Czech beer Pilsner Urquell with a £50m international marketing campaign.

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The move is likely to come as surprise to the industry following South African Breweries' £3.6bn acquisition of Miller Brewing. It had been expected that SAB would push Miller globally and particularly in Europe where Miller is not so strong.

According to SAB Miller chief executive Graham MacKay, "We made the decision to buy Pilsner Urquell following research into what customers wanted in a premium lager."

The beer, which is reportedly the world's first, has been in the UK for sometime, but has never enjoyed major advertising push.

Earlier this year, Pilsner Urquell launched a much smaller £7.5m global ad campaign to emphasise its heritage as the world's first "golden beer", originally brewed in 1842.

The two executions implied that the main motivation for the invention of the refrigerator and burglar alarm, both of which came after Pilsner Urquell, was to keep the lager cold and stop it from being stolen.

Urquell is sold in 50 markets worldwide, but the brewer is still keen to raise its profile in Europe and North America.

The campaign was created by Leagas Delaney London. The agency won the international account last year when it was estimated to be worth between £28m-£35m.

Leagas Delaney won the business following a competitive pitch against WCRS Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam. The agency splits between its offices in London and San Francisco.

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