Ogilvy and Stoli Part Ways

Russian Vodka Brand Slated to Begin Review

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After less than two years, WPP's Ogilvy is parting ways with Stolichnaya, which is owned by spirits giant SPI Group and distributed by William Grant & Sons in the U.S.

"Ogilvy is a wonderful agency and has served the Stolichnaya brand well over the course of our relationship," said Lisa Pfenning, category director at the vodka brand. "The 'Would You Have a Drink With You" campaign was well received and will continue throughout 2011. As we continue to evolve the brand across multiple communications platforms, we have decided to put the business up for review."

Ms. Pfenning did not elaborate on how it plans to conduct the review process, or when it will begin, but she did note that Ogilvy has opted not to participate in the pitch. "We thank Ogilvy for everything they've done throughout our relationship and wish them well," Ms. Pfenning said. "We are currently considering our next steps and look forward to announcing a new creative agency partner in the near future."

A representative for Ogilvy confirmed the New York agency has chosen to walk away from the business and won't participate in any forthcoming review. The WPP shop picked up the business after beating Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann in a review in the fall of 2008.

The campaign Ms. Pfenning referenced by Ogilvy saw celebrities Julia Stiles and Hugh Hefner, and other personalities such as Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, become the face of Stoli.

The parting of ways comes after SPI Group brought aboard a new chief marketing officer, Marco Ferrari, a little over a year ago. Prior to joining SPI, Mr. Ferrari served as director of marketing and strategic development at Fratelli Branca Distillerie in Italy, where he oversaw marketing for Fernet-Branca and other liquor brands. He earlier spent time at Bacardi in global and domestic marketing roles in Europe.

According to Kantar, just more than $10 million was devoted to Stoli in U.S. measured media in 2010.

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