MAKER'S MARK BOOSTS AD SPENDING TO $2.3 MIL

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Hiram Walker & Sons is dialing up support for its hot, high-end Maker's Mark bourbon.

After years of spending peanuts on folksy ads in regional editions of magazines and newspapers, the distiller plans to support Maker's Mark with $2.3 million of ads in 13 national publications and on outdoor boards in five markets.

The campaign, by longtime agency Doe-Anderson, Louisville, Ky., is designed to build loyalty among the young, well-educated urban professionals who have been driving the brand's growth.

"We were underadvertising before," said Bill Samuels Jr., president of Walker unit Maker's Mark Distillery. He pegged 1996 spending at $650,000.

TAKING OFF

The brand has taken off in a market where premium and superpremium spirits are increasingly popular. The brand saw sales rise 25% to 225,000 cases last year.

Prior to this ad boost, the brand has been built by word-of-mouth and an unorthodox marketing approach. The brand was written about in a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal in 1980; the distiller, which had been advertising around its Kentucky base, subsequently began running ads in the paper's national

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