BROWN-FORMAN BRAND TRIES MALE BONDING: EARLY TIMES WHISKEY MOCKS TRENDY DRINKS

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Brown-Forman Corp. is celebrating male bonding and mocking trendy drinks with a new outdoor and print ad campaign for Early Times Kentucky whiskey.

The campaign, running in 10 states primarily in the South, is aimed at 30- to 49-year-old men. The ads show guys hanging out at a bar or around a campfire; copy contains such quips as "No time for martinis."

The campaign tag: "The right whiskey for the times."

"The male bonding occasion is something the audience can understand, and it will resonate with meaning for them," said Dan Kelley, general manager for Early Times.

The Early Times effort replaces the 5-year-old "Slow down" campaign from Priceweber Marketing Communications, Louisville, Ky. The budget was undisclosed.

ID8, Los Angeles, handles on a project basis.

SALES ON LONG SLIDE

Early Times, sales of which have been on a slide since 1982, sold 965,000 cases in 1997, down 8.5% from the previous year, according to industry newsletter Impact.

The campaign breaks from much of the recent advertising by spirits marketers that plays up the resurgence of the martini among twentysomethings. Allied Domecq Spirits USA has been running such a campaign for Beefeater gin.

ALSO USED BY SEAGRAM'S VO

Seagram Americas also is trying a male-bonding approach in a print campaign for Seagram's VO Canadian whiskey (AA, Sept. 7). The ads from Grey Advertising, New York, run with the tag, "They drink VO. It's what men do."

Also, United Distillers & Vintners is targeting older adults with new advertising for Gordon's gin, handled by Avrett, Free & Ginsberg (AA, June 22).

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