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The wine-glut marketing wars get under way this week with the first TV campaign for International Distillers & Vintners' Glen Ellen brand. Ads tout the joys of discovering a classic at a low price.

The campaign comes as a record California grape crush has set the stage for a marketplace battle.

The campaign is the first from new agency J. Walter Thompson USA, San Francisco, and among the first major new efforts from the shop under Larry Tolpin, creative worldwide director and CEO of JWT/West.


The Glen Ellen campaign, with spending pegged at an estimated $15 million, will run on national cable and in major spot markets. The ad tag: "Good taste is within your reach."

"The campaign is built on a solid insight coming from the consumer," said Mr. Tolpin, explaining the effort is aimed at consumers age 30 and over and intended "not to be so upscale to be unapproachable."

Glen Ellen competes in the sub-premium wine category with an average price of less than $5, according to Impact/Market Watch, an industry publication.

Robert Mondavi Winery will roll out its first effort from new agency Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles, later this year.


E&J Gallo Winery recently consolidated an additional $20 million in ad spending at Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco. The agency picked up Gossamer Bay, Indigo Hills and the E&J Gallo brand.

Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco, previously handled Gossamer Bay.

Other wine brands are still looking for new agencies, including Seagram Chateau & Estates Wines Co., whose previous shop -- Hyett, Broadbent & Heimbrodt, San Francisco -- closed. Kendall-Jackson plans to select its first agency by the end of the month.

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