Despite signals that new Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard wants to investigate the issue of liquor ads on the airwaves (AA, Nov. 10), the distiller/importer views electronic media as legitimate channels.
"As we proceed through 1998, we will be looking for meaningful ways to utilize electronic media," said John V.O. Kennard (no relation), senior VP-marketing for Brown-Forman.
RADIO, TV FOR OTHER BRANDS
Already this year, the marketer has used radio to support its Southern Comfort, Southern Comfort cocktails and Jack Daniel's brands. Brown-Forman also used both radio and TV to back Early Times Turf Classic horse race.
Brown-Forman acquired Finlandia last fall, and wants to double the brand's volume within five years, Mr. Kennard said. Sales have been flat at about 305,000 cases for several years, according to Impact. Grand Metropolitan previously handled the brand.
Brown-Forman will have its work cut out for it, because the vodka category has been extremely competitive. Sales rose only 0.8% to 35.8 million cases last year, with premium and imported brands holding 34.7% of the overall vodka market, Impact said.
Marketing has grown fiercer as well, with vodka importers and distillers spending $27.8 million on their brands during the first six months of 1997, up 34.1% from a year earlier, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
To compete in that market, Brown-Forman is planning to roll out redesigned packaging in May and spend $60 million on ads, public relations and promotions over the next four years.
ADS BROKE THIS MONTH
Brown-Forman earlier this month broke its first Finlandia advertising from Martin -- a humorous campaign that positions the brand as a premium spirit. In the ads, people recount who they were in past lives. A Finlandia product shot proclaims: "I was pure, glacial spring water."
Outdoor boards are to follow.
"It's aspirational," Mr. Kennard said. "It's focused on the American drinker's desire to be perceived as a vodka connoisseur."
The Finlandia campaign fits in with efforts by Brown-Forman to be a more aggressive marketer. Mr. Kennard expects 1997 ad spending to outstrip last year's by $10 million. CMR put Brown-Forman's 1996 spending at $34.1 million in measured media for wines and spirits.
CANADIAN MIST CAMPAIGN
During the summer, Brown-Forman broke a $5 million outdoor campaign for Canadian Mist, a move that represented a tenfold increase in spending for the brand. Hill Holliday/Altschiller, New York, handles.
In September, Brown-Forman broke with its b&w ad tradition and began running a handful of color print ads for Jack Daniel's, via agency Simmons, Durham &