Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis has picked up creative duties for Woodford Reserve, a small but growing super-premium bourbon that has emerged as a star player in Brown-Forman's liquor portfolio.
"Woodford Reserve has tremendous growth potential moving forward, further building on its track record of strong performance," Maureen Brekka, SVP Director at Brown-Forman, said in a statement. "We're excited to have Fallon enter the Brown-Forman fold, and we're even more excited about the work they'll be creating to carry the brand into a new phase of its history."
Boxing Clever, the previous agency-of-record, will remain on board to oversee sales promotion, Brown-Forman spokeswoman Andrea Duvall said in an email. Woodford Reserve has a relatively small ad budget and hasn't historically devoted spending to broadcast. Last year under $5 million in measured media was spent on the brand, according to Kantar. Asked if that could change under Fallon, Ms. Duvall said: "As the brand continues to grow, we are looking at different mediums including TV, but there are no immediate plans for now."
The first campaign from Fallon is expected to debut in early 2014. Recent positioning has plugged the bourbon as "hand-crafted in small batches" with "five sources of flavor."
While small, Woodford Reserve is on a long-term growth spurt. The brand has doubled its share of the U.S. bourbon category from 0.4% in 2006 to 0.8% last year, according to Euromonitor International. (The top bourbon is Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's with 22.7% share.)
Woodford Reserve's long-term trend is impressive, with the brand posting double-digit volume growth for 17 consecutive years, according to Fallon and Brown-Forman. The brand's sales volume grew by 27.9% in the three months ending in June compared with the year-prior period, according to a recent report from Bernstein Research, which noted that it was among several smaller Brown-Forman brands that are gaining share, including Finlandia and El Jimador.