SOUTHERN COMFORT PREPARES FOR U.S. TV DEBUT

128-Year-Old Sweet Liqueur Also Gets a New Twist

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

BOSTON (AdAge.com) -- Brown-Forman Corp.'s Southern Comfort is making its debut on U.S. television as part of a new global push for the venerable 128-year-old sweet liqueur.

In addition to TV, the campaign includes Internet, print and promotions, all from Havas' Arnold Worldwide, St. Louis, where the brand has consolidated. This will be Southern Comfort's first appearance on American TV, though spots for the liqueur have run overseas.

The marketing budget is expected to stay the same, a spokesman for Brown-Forman said.

Southern Comfort received $6.6 million in measured media in 2001 and $669,000 in the first five months of this year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. It is the world's No. 5 liqueur, with sales down slightly, according to the Impact newsletter, which monitors the drinks industry. U.S. sales have been up for the past several years, Brown-Forman said.

The push is expected to move away from print toward radio, outdoor and TV. The Brown-Forman spokesman said he does not know when the campaign will break but that magazine ads are being shot now. Southern Comfort's biggest season comes in the fall and holidays at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Southern Twist, a new fruit-flavored line extension, is being tested in select markets. Work for that brand, billed as "the world's first soft liquor," comes from Omnicom Group's Tracy Locke Partnership, Dallas.

Arnold won Southern Comfort creative earlier this year, but gradually picked up promotions, interactive and media duties. ID8, out of Los Angeles, handled projects on the account before Arnold, which is also the agency for sibling brand Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Brown-Forman Corp.'s Southern Twist would be part of a Southern Comfort campaign by Havas' Arnold Worldwide, St. Louis. The story also incorrectly reported the campaign's total ad spending would be 30% higher. In fact, Southern Twist's agency is Omnicom Group's Tracy Locke Partnership, Dallas. Also, a Brown-Forman spokesman said Southern Comfort's ad budget would be flat and that timing for magazine ads is uncertain.

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