OWNG Crafts: St. Ides Gold Launch Spots

By Gerry Khermouch

SAN FRANCISCO–Odiorne Wilde Narraway Groome has unveiled the newest brand from San Francisco brewer McKenzie River Partners in a radio and TV campaign.

The San Francisco agency is helping the company push into the mainstream beer market with St. Ides Gold premium beer. The new brand is aimed at general consumers, particularly maturing customers of the company’s St. Ides Malt Liquor who graduate to beer as they enter their 30s, sources said.

The launch of the Gold beer was slated for the World Boxing Association rematch between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson May 3. When that fight was postponed until June 28, the company revamped the advertising schedule and some creative work, and then opted to go ahead and break the first commercial the first week of May.

With sponsorship rights for the boxing match, TV spots on ESPN and espn2 and radio ads, the total marketing budget for the new brand is likely to be $5-10 million, said sources.

‘We’re going right up against Budweiser,’ which usually corners the market for boxing ads, said McKenzie River marketing coordinator Emma Wharton. The overall theme for the fight sponsorship is ‘Celebrating the spirit of champions.’

The advertisements follow two comics in a bus as they encounter fight promoter Don King and others traveling to a boxing match.

Agency executives declined to comment on the advertising.

McKenzie River’s family of St. Ides brands includes tropical- flavored Special Brew and Crooked I teas and juices as well as its malt liquor products.

Colt 45 malt liquor marketer G. Heileman Brewing tried to break out of the malt liquor category in 1993 with the short-lived Colt 45 Premium Beer. Stroh Brewery in Detroit acquired both Heileman and Colt 45 last summer and also is handling sales duties on St. Ides, per an alliance struck with McKenzie River late last year.–with Joan Voight

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