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.
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