Seeking a higher profile in the crowded high-end scotch category, International Brands has hired Fort Franklin and plans to increase ad spending this year behind its three whiskies, the distributor said.
"They have three brands and each is at a different stage of development," said Marc Gallucci, CEO and creative director at independent Fort Franklin in Boston.
Duxbury, Mass.-based International Brands has put about $1 million a year behind The Speyside, Scott's Selection (both single-malts) and King's Crest (a blended scotch). Sources said $5 million would support a fall campaign from Fort Franklin, which client vp Kai Anderson said would probably employ a new tagline and revamped strategy. Previous efforts from various design shops have included point-of-purchase and print ads tagged "Small distillery. Big scotch."
"The first [task] is refining our message to the consumer," said Anderson, who turned to Fort Franklin on the recommendation of another Boston agency. "Our last attempts were aimed at getting across the fact that we are one of the few remaining family-run independent distilleries."
Super-premium scotches are the fastest-growing in the category, according to the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council. Competitors such as Glenfiddich and Glenlivet each spent about $3 million on advertising through November 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
"I don't know if I would call it dog eat dog, but let's just say there are a lot of whiskies on the market right now," said John Hansell, publisher and editor of Malt Advocate . "If you want to compete, I feel you really need to advertise or promote your product in some manner to be successful."