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Review Continues for Global Work

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NEW YORK ( -- Diageo has handed the U.S. portion of its creative business for malt liquor brand Smirnoff Ice to Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, according to the marketer.
The global portions of the Smirnoff Ice business are still up for grabs.

The spirits marketer's review of the rest of the brand's global ad business is ongoing, with a decision expected by the end of the calendar year. The incumbent, WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, London, and Omnicom Group's AMV/ BBDO, London, along with Bartle Bogle are vying for the $37 million global business.

"This decision is based upon the outstanding creative that was presented for this market," said James Thompson, president of global and U.S. marketing for Smirnoff.

Category's future
The London-based Diageo, which launched Smirnoff Ice in 1999 to great success, has pegged its future to its flavored malt beverages line, which are selling well in the U.S. despite declines in Europe. Others aren't as sure of the category's future here. Allied Domecq bailed out of the market earlier this year after its Stolichnaya Citrona and Sauza Diablo tanked. And Brown-Forman discontinued its Jack Daniels Original Hard Cola.

Bartle Bogle will first handle the business out of its London office before it begins a transition to New York, according to an agency representative.

In 2003, Diageo spent more than $13 million in measured media on Smirnoff Ice in the U.S., according TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Last year, Bartle Bogle wrested Diageo's $90 million Bailey's liqueurs business from JWT, which remains the global agency for the Smirnoff vodka business.

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