GUINNESS PLANS FIRST TV ADS FOR GROWING BASS ALE IN FALL

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The newly christened Guinness Bass Import Co. plans to break the first TV support for fast-growing Bass ale later this year, beer wholesalers said.

The move reflects the importer's increased U.S. advertising muscle and expanded marketing requirements in a new distribution agreement between Bass and the importer's parent, Diageo. The unit was formerly named Guinness Import Co.

"We are looking at various ways to grow Bass brands in the U.S., and developing various media options," said Sharon Bloom, brand manager. She declined to disclose any plans.

SALES UP 12%

Bass sold 5.6 million cases in 1997, up 12% from 1996, according to industry newsletter Impact. It received $2.9 million in print ad support in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. During the first quarter of 1998, it received $880,000.

Bass incumbent Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York, is expected to handle the TV. Creative is expected to be more conservative than in the print ad campaign, photographed by David La-Chapelle, in which a man was licking a boot and another where a man was covered with tattoos.

Some Bass marketers felt the campaign broke too sharply from previous heritage-focused work for the brand.

IN SOME MAJOR MARKETS

According to the wholesaler executives, TV spots will run later this year in a handful of major markets where the brand has sufficient market presence. Cities still are being determined.

The approach is similar to the one Guinness took with its flagship stout. The brewer ran its first TV spots for the brew, also from Weiss, in late 1996 and expanded the campaign into major markets in 1997.

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