Decker has added The Famous Grouse, a brand of blended scotch whiskey, to its roster.
The Glastonbury, Conn., shop will create a national marketing program that includes advertising, media buying and planning, promotions and special events, said Decker president Craig Cheyne.
The account was assigned without a formal review, and billings were not disclosed. Decker becomes Grouse's first U.S. agency.
The category leader in Scotland, Grouse claims just 2 percent of the U.S. market, according to Whitney Repp, an official at IDV Wines/Import in Hartford, Conn. IDV imports both Grouse and Highland Park Single Malt Scotch, for which Decker already handles advertising.
Repp, an account supervisor at Decker from 1986 to 1989, said he chose his former agency because of its proximity to the importer and its previous work for Highland Park.
Grouse hopes to win a larger share of the market dominated by Dewars, Johnnie Walker Red, J&B and Cutty Sark, said Repp. To this end, the agency is using the history of the liquor's namesake, Scotland's national game bird, to promote the brand and target males 45 and up.
"There's still a lot of basic brand awareness that needs to be done," Repp said. "We need to be a little bit more overt in branding in this country. In the U.K., we can simply show a picture of the grouse and everyone knows what it is. Here, people think it's a funny-looking bird."
There is no timetable for Grouse's initial U.S. advertising, which is currently in the planning stages.
Decker's first assignment includes creating collateral materials to promote the national Grouse Hunt sweepstakes in liquor stores and at special events across the country.
As part of the contest, consumers are invited to submit their personal pet peeve or "grouse" and have a chance to win a trip to Scotland or Grouse-branded merchandise.
Decker is also orchestrating tasting events in the New York metropolitan area to be held at private clubs such as the Yale Club and the Princeton Club as well as some public venues, Cheyne said.
Print ads created by Grouse's London agency, Abbott Mead Vickers/BDDO, are running in The New York Times to coincide with the tastings. Decker's selection has no impact on Abbott Mead's status on the Grouse account in the U.K.