SEAGRAM SHUFFLES AGENCIES ON TWO TOP-SELLING BRANDS: O&M LOSES VO; EXTRA DRY GIN UP FOR GRABS

By Published on .

Seagram Americas is expected this week to shake up agency assignments for VO Canadian whiskey and Seagram's Extra Dry gin as it seeks to invigorate the spirits brands.

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.

In this article:
Most Popular