Macallan scotch's mailing seeks to distill its market

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The Macallan has been a poor correspondent. But now the single-malt scotch is readying its most concerted direct-mail effort ever in a bid to get back in touch with 18 years worth of consumer names it has amassed.

Remy Amerique will launch a 300,000-piece mailing backing The Macallan at the end of the month through its U.S. direct marketing agency, Adair-Greene, Atlanta. In addition to touting the distilled spirits' high quality and Scottish history, the campaign will serve as an education tool for Remy Amerique, the North American arm of France-based Remy Cointreau.

"We've never really gone out to find out what makes these people tick" and if, or how frequently, they drink The Macallan, said Mark Izatt, Remy Cointreau's brand ambassador in the U.S.

The campaign here breaks on the heels of a similar U.K. effort, which enabled Remy to segment its customer database to create more targeted communications. That campaign was created by Macallan global agency Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO, London.


"The whole objective of this direct mailing is to fine-tune that [database]," said Helene Hertzfeld-Soul, category director-liquor and spirits at Remy Amerique. "It's a long-term investment in a relationship between Macallan drinkers and us."

"Direct mail is an easier way to isolate [single-malt scotch drink-ers] than a broad effort that is going after general spirits [drinkers]," added Andrew Montgomery, exec VP-managing director at Adair-Greene, owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson WorldGroup.

The hope, he said, is that the mailer will encourage people drinking other brands to switch to The Macallan. "We just want to make sure when they're in that upgrading mode that they're upgrading to our brand," Mr. Mont-gomery added. Remy's in-house database was supplemented by a list of scotch drinkers from list broker Experian for the mailing.

The Macallan is the third-largest single-malt scotch in the U.S., with a 10% market share, according to industry publication Impact.


"We're the No. 3 brand in the market, but we're a far No. 3, and we have lots of opportunity for growth," Ms. Hertzfeld-Soul said.

The mailer, which received approval from the 15 to 20 states in which it will be distributed, "talks about the ultimate scotch experience" by highlighting the product's Scottish heritage, Mr. Montgomery said. The mailer also includes an offer consistent with individual states' regulations, such as a mail-in coupon or a Macallan cap. Adair-Greene will track responses to a questionnaire included in the mailer.

"Considering [the single-malt segment] was nothing in 1975, it's done nicely," now representing about 7% of the total scotch category, said Frank Walters, director of research at Impact. "A lot of it has to do with people trading up; people want premium products and single-malts have been able to fill that niche. Marketing is everything in this business."

But "it's not just doing the sexy ad that makes a brand successful in the market," Mr. Montgomery said. "A lot of time it's the on-the-street trade efforts to get it into consumers' hands any way possible."

Contributing: Hillary Chura

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