Hornitos Courts ‘Mischievers’

Times are still festive for tequila makers. The category was up about 2 percent last year despite the fact that tequila, on average, is nearly twice as expensive as other spirits, per Impact, New York.

Beam Global Spirits & Wine has taken notice. The spirits giant has made its Hornitos tequila brand one of its top priorities this year. A member of the Sauza tequila family, the sub-brand grew 8 percent for the 52 weeks ending in February, per Nielsen data.

To keep Hornitos moving forward, the brand will launch its new “Mischieve” advertising campaign next month. Much like Captain Morgan, the brand wants to be a part of the good-natured fun its upwardly mobile consumers are partaking in during the night.

Hornitos is targeting men (24-35) with print, out-of-home, in-store and on-premise ads. It is also planning a variety of digital initiatives including an upcoming viral video.

The ads feature candid photos taken at a private party in January. They read: “If you’re going home one hour late, may as well be three” and “We’ll just cuddle.” Hal Riney, San Francisco, and the Brooklyn Brothers, New York, created the campaign, which replaces the former “Perfect combination of smooth taste and tequila edge” effort.

“There is a huge opportunity for Hornitos. It’s a premium brand that drinkers are upgrading to,” said Antonio Portillo, senior brand manager for Sauza. “This is a good moment for the brand.”

Hornitos, which starts at $24.99, benefits from being in a category—spirits—that is usually insulated from a recession. Tequila is currently outpacing the category despite carrying an average retail price of $22.60. The average price of liquor overall tends to be around $14. “It’s held up pretty good,” said Frank Walters, director of research at Impact.

He noted Hornitos has some stiff competition: “There are a lot of tequilas right now. The big star is Patrón.”

Spending behind the new campaign was not revealed. Beam spent $2 million on U.S. media, excluding online, behind the brand last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.