$15M Supports Hornitos Tequila Repositioning, Line Extensions

Hornitos Tequila is undergoing a massive repositioning supported by an equally massive advertising budget--the brand's most aggressive campaign in years--in addition to the launch of two new versions.

Fortune Brands' Beam Global Spirits & Wine, which owns the Sauza Hornitos brand, on Thursday unveiled a white Hornitos Plata and an amber Hornitos Añejo as well as details of the new campaign.

The $15 million effort, "The Fine Line of Tequila," from Publicis Dallas emphasizes the "exhilaration that comes from having two forces, seemingly at odds, combine to deliver the perfect combination," the company says. The position is designed to emphasis the brand's ability to provide a smooth taste while retaining an edge.

The campaign is a mix of online, radio, print, and out-of-home placements, with 38% of the budget dedicated to online advertising. Hornitos will run a mix of high-impact, rich-media banner ad units as well as home page takeovers, roadblocks and custom skins with AskMen, Yahoo and ad networks BlueLithium and Gorilla Nation.



In addition, Hornitos is partnering with key publisher sites to create custom-branded entertainment programs with Maxim, UGO, Playboy, Pandora and Break.com . Consumer print advertisements will run in GQ, Maxim, Blender and Playboy magazines beginning next month.

The ads show an image of a red devil's wing, tail and flames with a fine green line intersecting a parallel image of an angel's wing with beams of light. The Hornitos bottle rests on the fine green line with both images at opposite sides, representing the "perfect combination." Tagline: "Experience the fine line of tequila."

"This re-launch, coupled with our targeted advertising and unique and intriguing 'Fine Line' campaign, represents a defining milestone for Hornitos," says Sheryl Rosenberger, senior brand manager, Sauza, in a release. "We are confident that the comprehensive elements of our 'Fine Line' campaign will lead to increased visibility and consumer engagement for Hornitos, especially as consumers continue to trade up from the standard tequila segment."

The tequila category has experienced robust growth in recent years, much of it tied directly to the popularity of the margarita, which industry experts estimate accounts for 17% of all mixed drinks sold on-premise. Some say margaritas account for 70% of all tequila consumed in the U.S.

The youth factor, the "premiumization" of tequila and the growing Mexican population are also spurring U.S. tequila sales, Marketing Daily reported in July. Sales jumped 10.8%, to 10 million cases, last year. And while the category is still eighth-largest -- representing less than 6% of the total distilled spirits market -- its sales increased by about 30% between 2000 and 2006, according to AC Nielsen. (Nielsen notes that there were 40 premium tequila brands in the U.S. as of 2006, compared to 13 in 2004.)

Marc Scheinman, author of "The Surging Global Tequila Market," predicts that tequila's U.S. sales will continue to grow by 8% in volume and 10% in value annually until at least 2010 -- at which point, the U.S. will represent over 54% of the total global tequila market.

Beam bought the Hornitos brand in 2005. It is No. 2 in the U.S. behind Diageo's Cuervo.

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