Allied Domecq hands global Ballantine's account to Bates Worldwide

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BRISTOL -- Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine has after nine years shifted the $33 million global advertising account for Ballantine's Finest whisky - its biggest brand - from Publicis, London, to Bates Worldwide.

Bates' London office, Bates Dorland, competed against the incumbent plus BBDO Europe and Saatchi & Saatchi, both London, in a pitch which was overseen by Richard Gowar, head of international brands.

Marketing investment in the Scotch whisky is boosted by around 25% this year as the company moves into the next phase of its strategy of focusing on brand-market combinations.

When it was first introduced two years ago, that policy of maximizing marketing effort behind certain brands in certain markets prompted brand support to be diverted from some countries to others. The result was volume growth, which for the six months to the end of February 1998 was up by 5%, compared with the same period in 1997.

In Spain, Ballantine's biggest market by far, the marketing budget was increased by 25% in those six months and volumes grew 11%. "It's clear that strategy is working," Mark Hunt, a spokesman for the drinks firm said at the time of the review last June. "What we're talking about now is real increases and a real commitment to grow our brands."

Mark Doorbar, VP marketing - Ballantine's, says Bates won on the basis of its strategic thinking, brand and market understanding, and global creative capabilities. "Our vision is to make Ballantine's the No. 1 whisky brand worldwide," he says. "Bates has identified a strong platform from which to build an exciting and relevant global campaign."

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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