Diageo may widen TV push for T.G.I. Friday's cocktails

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Diageo's IDV North America is testing TV advertising for its low-alcohol T.G.I. Friday's frozen cocktails, and contemplating whether to broaden the effort.

The ads, created by Grybauskas Beatrice, New York, are running on local network affiliates and cable stations in Las Vegas, Miami and New Orleans.

"The brand has shown significant growth over the past five years since introduction, but we still think that there is relatively low awareness of the product," said a Diageo spokesman.

Diageo sold about 1 million cases of the brand in 1996, according to Impact.

KAHLUA LEADS IN SPENDING

Ever since Seagram Americas broke the liquor industry's self-imposed ban on broadcast media two years ago, marketers of low-alcohol spirits have led the charge. Allied Domecq Spirits & Wines is the biggest spender, backing Kahlua cocktails with nearly $1 million in cable and spot buys, plus $1.7 million in radio, during the first nine months of 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

IDV previously has run TV spots for low-alcohol Bailey's Irish Cream, in Boston and New Hampshire, via Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York.

Diageo licenses the T.G.I. Friday's brand from the restaurant chain owned by Carlson Cos. The restaurant chain, while not involved in the creative process, must approve the ads used.

The restaurant's name was tied to liquor last year when it started running TV spots for its Jack Daniel's Grill, a line of barbecued meats co-branded with the Tennessee whiskey from Brown-Forman Corp.

Diageo was created earlier this year by the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. The IDV unit is gradually being absorbed into newly established subsidiary United Distillers & Vintners.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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