The distiller is moving the VO Canadian whiskey account to roster shop Grey Advertising from Ogilvy & Mather, both New York, agency executives said.
The gin brand is up for grabs among roster shops TBWA Chiat/Day and Chisholm-Mingo Group, also New York. Chisholm-Mingo -- already the brand's ethnic marketing shop -- is seen as the front-runner, since Seagram wants to focus on the African-American market. O&M is the incumbent.
7 CROWN ALSO IN REVIEW
Still to be decided is the fate of Seagram's 7 Crown, currently handled by O&M but now in review.
The agencies referred calls to Seagram, which declined comment.
All three brands, which get little ad support, have suffered prolonged sales declines. Arthur Shapiro, Seagram's VP-marketing, has said he wants to bolster the brands with overhauled marketing strategies that include more spending (AA, Jan. 12).
Seagram spent $68.3 million advertising its spirits brands in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But it shelled out only $3.1 million for the gin, $1.2 million for 7 Crown and a measly $177,700 on VO, according to CMR.
The three are big sellers, but the lack of support shows in their results. The gin's sales slid 6% to 3.2 million cases, while VO dropped 4.3% to 1.7 million cases, according to Impact's 1998 annual distilled spirits report. Seagram's 7 Crown continued a 17-year-long sales plunge, falling 5% to 2.8 million cases.
The agency moves further diminish the role of O&M, which had handled the brands for 10 years. It continues to handle Martell cognac, with media spending of $400,000 last year, but last month Grey took over broadcast buying from O&M.