MCKINNEY TAPS BEN & JERRY FOR DISARONNO PITCH & WIN: SHOP LANDS LIQUEUR BIZ WITH HARD WORK, ICE CREAM

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What do you get when you mix vanilla ice cream with almonds and Disaronno Amaretto liqueur? A winning pitch for a $6 million to $8 million account.

McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., so craved the spirits account that it recruited current client Ben & Jerry's to enrich their message.

At a presentation two weeks ago, McKinney & Silver served up seven bowls of the custom-flavored ice cream to Bacardi-Martini USA executives. Bacardi had acquired import rights of Disaronno Amaretto this summer with hopes of lifting its sales and image.

BEAT 3 OTHER AGENCIES

McKinney last week won out over DeVito/Verdi, Warwick Baker O'Neill and Ammirati Puris Lintas, all New York. Bacardi threw the business into review soon after acquiring the brand, previously with Diageo.

The winning agency created so much full-scale, finished advertising for its presentation that executives rented an oversized van to cart the creative work from Raleigh to Miami-where Bacardi is based.

Agency staffers, in setting up the presentation room the night before a 9 a.m. meeting, even detailed the day's agenda on the ingredients section of a 7-foot mock bottle of Amaretto.

TRAYS OF CREATIVE

The five-member pitch team later unveiled for company executives trays of creative, which included print ads, point-of-purchase materials and in-bar displays. McKinney distributed their creation-Disaronno Decadence ice cream-21/2 hours into the pitch; 10 pints were overnighted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Burlington, Vt., headquarters.

The agency's goal: to show its creative mind-set and penchant for cross-merchandising.

"We thought it would be great to get the [Amaretto] name into other distribution points," said Don Maurer, McKinney CEO, adding that the ice cream also gave the pitch "a wow factor."

"It's the kind of cross-merchandising we like to see," said Monsell Darville, group marketing director-liqueurs and Martini & Rossi brands at Bacardi.

The marketer hopes to update Disaronno's image by targeting young adults.

"We want to introduce it to a whole new group of consumers who did not grow up with the product," Mr. Darville said, adding that Disaronno's current positioning is "dusty."

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