ALLIED DOMECQ BOLSTERS BRANDS

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[london] In a new global marketing strategy, Allied Domecq will channel spending into a handful of key gin, Scotch whisky, liqueur and tequila brands in a few major national markets.

The focused spending on core brands will come at the expense of non-priority brands and markets.

Although Allied Domecq is only increasing global marketing expenditures by single digits, ad spending on key brands in some countries will jump by as much as 60%, said Chief Executive Tony Hales.

SPENDING INCREASES TO SLOW

In the first half of 1996, Allied Domecq's marketing spending rose 10% to $355 million, but increases are expected to be lower for the rest of the year. The U.K.-based alcoholic drinks and food marketer reorganized its international marketing department last fall.

The four key brands are Beefeater gin, Ballantine's Scotch whisky, Kahlua liqueur and Sauza tequila.

Beefeater, which claims to be the world's leading premium gin, is about to be repositioned globally.

"We recognize that at the consumer level, there are markets where we are losing relevance and becoming a brand that is seen as `good, but not for me.' There are also markets where we are simply not well-known enough, primarily due to having spent insufficient funds for the last few years or inefficient spending," said Nick Johnston, international marketing director of Beefeater.

A project team has just finished developing a new vision for the brand.

Mr. Johnston said the "international positioning" is being communicated to its various ad agencies in preparation for a global relaunch of Beefeater this year.

There is no global ad agency for the Beefeater brand; advertising is handled on a country-by-country basis. Publicis FCB handles the international account for print, satellite TV and duty free. Last week, Mr. Johnston took his first look at a new international campaign being developed by Publicis in London.

Elsewhere in Europe, Beefeater is preparing new advertising for some of its major markets-Spain, Scandinavia and the Czech Republic.

U.S. ACCOUNT IN REVIEW

Beefeater is now reviewing its U.S. account, dropped earlier this year by FCB/Leber Katz Partners, New York. Beefeater is "dramatically" increasing media spending in the U.S., where the brand has received little consumer ad support in the past two years, Mr. Johnston said. In Russia, three agencies, including Publicis, are pitching for the ad account, he said.

For Ballantine's, first-half media spending in Europe has increased 60% and the brand's share of voice vs. competing brands has risen in Spain, France and Germany.

Allied Domecq says Ballantine's is Europe's leading scotch and the world's No. 3 brand, with more than 5 million cases sold annually.

Martin Riley, Ballantine's international brand director, said the brand has a two-track communications strategy. To target existing European customers, it launched in October the "Inspiration to self-expression" TV and print campaign via Publicis FCB, which handles the account on a worldwide basis. To target younger consumers, it sponsors snowboarding events and arranges huge dance parties.

KAHLUA SPENDING UP 28%

Kahlua, said to be the leading imported liqueur in the U.S., will see its marketing spending increased by 28% in 1996-97, with much of this going to advertising directed to the under-29 age group, Mr. Hales said.

The ad spending includes Kahlua's first-ever TV campaign for a new drink called Kahluaccino.

Sauza, a fast-growing premium tequila in the U.S., is being developed for Europe. It's already one of the top two tequilas worldwide, the company says.

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