HIRAM WALKER TESTING RADIO FOR CANADIAN CLUB: MARKETER PLANS $5 MIL CAMPAIGN

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Hiram Walker & Sons is testing radio advertising for its repackaged Canadian Club brand, anticipating an estimated $5 million campaign in 1998.

The broadcast ads, in a test that broke last week in Denver and Knoxville, Tenn., are part of the new "Club Rules" effort. The campaign emphasizes the 139-year-old brand's history and quality.

The unit of Allied Domecq Spirits & Wines plans to run a four-month test before moving the campaign into several other regional markets. Print and outdoor also are being tested.

HERITAGE

"We're focusing on the heritage of the brand," said Michael Seguin, senior brand manager for Canadian Club. The new packaging includes bolder typefaces; it will be rolled out starting in February.

DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, is the agency.

Hiram Walker has been a leader among spirits companies in advertising on TV and radio since Seagram Americas broke the industry's decades-old, voluntary ban on using such media. Hiram Walker has advertised Kahlua drinks on TV and radio and Cutty Sark Scotch whisky on radio.

But the distiller has not pushed Canadian Club aggressively, even as other spirits marketers such as Seagram and Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide have upped support for their Canadian whisky brands.

Through the first six months of 1997, Seagram led the way by spending $3.6 million on Crown Royal Canadian whisky, a sixfold increase from the year-earlier period, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Hiram Walker last advertised Canadian Club in 1995, spending $154,000 on the brand, according to figures from CMR.

Canadian Club sold 1.6 million cases in 1996, up 1.2%, making it the country's

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