Pernod Ricard will focus marketing in the U.S. on key brands that have generated growth over the past year, including Absolut; Jameson Irish Whiskey; Malibu rum, Chivas, The Glenlivet, and Kahlua.
Pierre Pringuet, CEO of Pernod Ricard S.A. says Absolut -- the No. 1 imported spirit, No. 1 imported vodka and No. 4 overall spirit in the U.S. -- has sustained the company's performance in the U.S.
Speaking at a New York press conference on Thursday, he said a double-digit advertising and promotions spend behind the brands in the U.S. includes an evolution this fall of "In an Absolut World," the campaign Pernod launched last year.
The company recently launched an "Anthem" ad for Absolut, which features artworks of natural materials in symbolic settings, and also signed a multi-year Absolut sponsorship with Madison Square Garden, which begins with a 9/11 benefit concert for New York City police and firefighters, featuring hip-hop artist Jay Z.
For its Jameson Irish Whiskey, the company will launch its first U.S. TV spot, via TBWA in October. "We are doubling the ad budget," says Paul Duffy, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard, U.S. He says the company is also stepping up consumer communications for its Malibu Caribbean rum to extend the recently launched national print, TV and digital efforts.
The new print, TV and event campaign for Jameson Irish Whiskey focuses on a mythologizing of John Jameson, after whom the spirit is named. The spot shows a ship at sea during a storm in 1781. Jameson loses a barrel of whiskey overboard and goes in after it. After 30 days and nights, a funeral is held in Ireland. Many were in attendance, "including Jameson," explains the voiceover, as we see Jameson emerge from the surf with the barrel.
All drink a toast. Tag: "Taste above all else." "It is really meant to bring out the fun side of the brand," said Duffy, who added that the company is also doing events to introduce bartenders to the brand, as well as sampling events.
Duffy said Jameson has seen 33% growth in past 52 weeks, making it Pernod's fastest-growing premium brand. "Malibu and Kahlua are our two most difficult brands," said Pringuet. "Liquor has suffered in this economy, with shipments of Kahlua down 15%."
"It is hard to relaunch a brand in a difficult market," he conceded, adding that while Pernod has cut overall spend on ad and promotions by 70%, the company has only cut spend on core brands by 4%.
"We want to reinvest behind our brands this year," he said. New marketing plans include platforms for the Mumm and Jacobs Creek brands, new packaging for Chivas and the new campaign for Absolut. "The priorities are to continue strengthening advertising and promotions investment behind strategic brands," he said.