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Beam To Boost Word-Of-Mouth Efforts

  • Ad Age, Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11 AM
In a big marketing shift, word-of-mouth is the new focus for Beam Global. The liquor giant is moving to generate more talk around brands like Jim Beam bourbon and Sauza tequila.

Distillers, long barred from advertising in some mainstream media, have been heavily into on-premise and word-of-mouth marketing for years, using those methods to grab market share away from beer over the past decade. But there has lately been a flood of liquor ads on TV, and while that won't stop, Beam Chief Marketing Officer Rory Finlay says that is only one means. "Advertising is not dead; it's really important," he says. "But it's more about fanning the flames [of word-of-mouth] than anything else." Finlay says the company will overhaul its creative on three quarters of its brands.

What the switch will do to Beam's estimated $100 million global media and promotions budget is yet to be seen, but "this is a fundamental shift in the way they're doing business" says Paul Rand, president-CEO of Omnicom's Zocalo Group, a word-of-mouth firm working with the company. "I haven't seen a company that's as upfront and stamped-on-the-forehead about being a word-of-mouth company like Beam."



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