BBDO Spirits Stoli Sans Review

BBDO staved off a review for Stolichnaya vodka, convincing Allied Domecq executives to skip talks with outside agencies and award it the liquor account.

BBDO, which handles two other Domecq brands, met with the liquor marketer several times in the past year to discuss the company’s new vodka ventures.

Still, BBDO Chicago director of client services Anne Dooley said she was not sure the shop would pick up the assignment for Stolichnaya until just before Christmas, when she received a holiday bouquet with a note bearing a Russian toast from Matt Wiant, Domecq’s vice president of marketing. The shop officially took over the assignment last week.

Allied Domecq, which had received about 100 submissions and 200 phone calls from interested agencies, had considered a review [Adweek, Dec. 11], but opted to hand BBDO the business based on the shop’s research and work on Domecq’s Kahlúa and Beefeater brands, according to Wiant.

“We were contemplating doing a review … to understand the global capabilities of various agencies,” Wiant said. “We ultimately decided it was in everyone’s best interest to go with BBDO.”

Dooley said the shop “never explicitly made a demand” for Stoli, and suggested the cost and time of conducting a full-blown review may have contributed to Domecq’s decision to tap BBDO.

BBDO’s initial task will be to build the brand in the U.S. It will also handle Stoli internationally, where Domecq will oversee distribution, such as Mexico, France and South Africa.

Stoli incumbent Margeotes|Fertitta + Partners resigned the ac-count late last year after winning Bacardi USA’s Bombay Sapphire gin account. Domecq officially took control of the brand from United Distillers and Vintners last week. Wiant said ad spending this year will be about $20-25 million.