Lest you conclude you've had a few too many Jamesons already, we'll just tell you that it's part of Pernod Ricard USA's holiday push to speak -- almost literally -- to social 20- and 30-somethings.
On Dec. 4, the company will launch an outdoor projection-media campaign in New York City that will later pop up in cities throughout the country, including Los Angeles, Boston and Denver. Developed by TBWA Worldwide and media shop Carat, both New York, the push targets high-traffic areas where it's likely many of Jameson's target consumers -- young adults -- will be out and about, going to restaurants and bars.
For the most part, the projected screens will look as if someone is typing out messages to passers-by, even though the communications have been scripted and automatically programmed on a seven- to 10-minute looping movie file. In New York and Los Angeles, however, a copywriter will actually type out messages in real time via a laptop to interact with those near the projection.
Jameson Brand Director Wayne Hartunian said this type of outdoor advertising is the "perfect medium" for the whiskey. It's a "disruptive" approach, he said, designed to build buzz and awareness around the brand. And to the company's knowledge, it's also the first time a brand has ever experimented with dynamic projection media.
"We wanted to take it a step further with the actual execution and do something that was very unique," said Mr. Hartunian, who described Jameson as a "discovery type of brand" that fits with a grass-roots marketing approach.
Pernod is still finalizing the logistics for each city, but the campaign will run for three nights in New York City, and location candidates include Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Station and the downtown area. It will pick up in other cities throughout December and hit Los Angeles at the end of the month.
If all goes well, Pernod might repeat the campaign or roll it out in other cities later this fiscal year or next.
Pernod spent $9.5 million advertising Jameson in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence, more than it spent on any other brand. But the company has spent significantly less on Jameson this year -- just over $1.8 million between January and June 2008, according to TNS.
Still, Mr. Hartunian said, the brand is doing very well. "The growth is accelerating even in this economic situation," he said, noting that Jameson has a roughly two-thirds share of the Irish-whiskey market, which he called the "fastest-growing spirit category in the United States."
He said Jameson sales in the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association states were up 27% in a recent six-month period as of August 2008, and on-premise sales were up 25% during that same time. Pernod said sales rose 24% in its fiscal year that ended in June. And according to Impact, Jameson sells 365,000 more cases than its closest competitor, Bushmills.
Mr. Hartunian said sales may be up because Jameson's typical consumer is in a "precommitment stage" with regard to family. "They're still going out and enjoying themselves," he said.
The campaign falls in line with other innovative advertising Jameson has done recently, including an integrated program with Playboy called "Insider Discoveries" and its own comedy tour.