London's Lowe Howard-Spink wins Baileys first global ads

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LONDON -- London agency Lowe Howard-Spink has been handed the global task of raising advertising standards and forging entry into new markets for the world's biggest selling liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream.

R & A Bailey and Company, the wholly owned Irish subsidiary of Grand Metropolitan's International Distillers & Vintners - the world's biggest drinks firm - has chosen Lowe to create its first international campaign, that could be worth up to $31m. The win also includes work on the Sheridans cream liqueur and Godet white chocolate liqueur brands.

The Dublin-based drinks company is boosting ad spend worldwide as it pushes into new markets such as Eastern Europe and China and aims to convert its "good advertising into excellent advertising,'' says international marketing director Frank Fenn.

Currently, advertising is handled by IDV's local teams in individual countries. This will continue to be the case in a "handful" of markets, including the U.K. where Court Burkitt and Company handles. Elsewhere, R & A Bailey and the local team will decide jointly on whether to run the Lowe ads or retain the local agency. Media will remain in local hands in all 140 countries where Baileys is sold for the time being.

Fenn claims there was no pitch for the account, though ideas from Lowe, Court Burkitt and DDB Needham in Germany were all put into research two months ago. The Lowe Group already holds the Baileys, Sheridans and Godet accounts in the U.S., through Lowe and Partners SMS, which Fenn says "played a part" in his choice. The agency group also handles the Sheridans account internationally and is the global agency for Smirnoff, another IDV brand.

The new global advertising for the $1.2bn Baileys brand will bring emotional values to the fore; ads have previously focused more on product features. It will also continue to promote Baileys as a year-round drink. The liqueur has traditionally been considered right across the world as purely for special occasions.

Copyright July 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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