Seagram Americas is mobilizing its parent company's entertainment resources to sell spirits in a growing number of promotions enlisting musical artists from sibling Universal Music & Video.
Linking brands to acts appropriate for the target demographic, Seagram is pitching clubgoers in their mid-20s and early 30s with promotions for Chivas Regal scotch, and recently inked a deal with Brian Setzer, leader of the neo-swing group the Brian Setzer Orchestra. TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, handles.
EPITOME OF CONTEMPORARY
"We woke up one day and realized [parent Joseph E. Seagram & Sons] has ownership of a motion picture and music business," said Arthur Shapiro, exec VP-marketing and strategy for Seagram Americas, the U.S. division of Seagram Spirits & Wine Group. "Music is the epitome of what's contemporary, of what people relax to and enjoy."
As Seagram brand managers draft annual marketing strategies now, they explore all opportunities for event marketing using musical tie-ins. If solid ideas emerge, Mr. Shapiro or one of his lieutenants plans to meet with executives from Seagram-owned labels.
Seagram stepped up entertainment-driven marketing efforts last year by sponsoring a tour of country music performers linked to Crown Royal Canadian whiskey. The "Crown Royal Untamed & True" tour fit into Seagram's overall efforts to market the whiskey to its core markets in the Southern states. Seagram also sponsors rodeos and turf racing tied to the brand.
Seagram applied this musical strategy to Martell cognac late last year in a campaign targeting African-Americans. An outdoor, print and radio campaign featured rhythm and blues artist Chico DeBarge. Subsequent executions will feature other r&b performers. Ogilvy & Mather handles Martell.
Seagram tapped Mr. Setzer as a spokesman for Chivas because his latest album, the double-platinum "The Dirty Boogie," was popular with a swing-dancing, spirits-drinking niche of young adults.
"He's Mr. Swing," Mr. Shapiro said of Mr. Setzer, who will perform at Chivas events and appear in print ads from Grey Advertising later this year.
A musical tie-in for Seagram's gin, which is being backed by a new hip-hop flavored ad campaign from TBWA/Chiat/Day, is now being explored by Seagram.
But running too many music promotions could dilute the novelty, so Mr. Shapiro doesn't see a time in the future when there's a singer for every spirit.
"You don't want to overdo it," he said.
Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.