Patrón is down to final meetings this week in its search for a new lead agency, having culled its list of contenders to Mullen as well as Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, according to sources.
The winner will replace incumbent Cramer-Krasselt, which did not defend. Media spending on the assignment, which also includes sister brands Pyrat rum and Ultimat vodka, totaled nearly $42 million last year, according to Kantar Media.
The finalists, which emerged from a broader field of about a half-dozen, declined to comment, referring questions to the marketer, who could not immediately be reached. Select Resources International in Santa Monica is managing the search.
In August, when the review began, Lee Applbaum, global chief marketing officer for the company, said in a statement: "We're looking for a highly strategic and creative agency partner. Our selected partner will possess a track record of success in marketing luxury brands."
Applbaum joined Patrón as CMO last November after serving in the same position at Target for eight months and Radio Shack before that.
Beyond creative ads, the new agency will plan and buy media for TV and outdoor ads. Not in play are print buying, digital creative responsibilities and public relations efforts, which remain at 3 Plus Media, Razorfish and M Booth, respectively. A decision is expected early next month.