Beam Suntory Picks VSA Partners for Hornitos Tequila

By Patrick Coffee 

Just over two months after picking Chicago-New York-Detroit agency VSA Partners to promote its 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey brand, the Beam Suntory group further consolidated its ad business by sending the Hornitos Tequila account to that shop as well after a formal review. VSA will handle TV, print, digital and social media moving forward.

“The tequila category has seen exponential growth and is more crowded than ever,” says Beam Suntory’s Claire Richards, senior director of tequilas. “VSA not only gave us a big creative idea, their holistic approach is allowing us to connect with our target audience at various touch points—whether it be print, mobile, TV, retail, or on premise. We’ve very excited for this new partnership.”

VSA Partner and ECD Bob Winter says, “If you can’t get excited about working with some of the world’s best clients on one of the world’s best premium tequilas, well, then you aren’t doing this right,” adding, “We are all so happy, proud and honored by the win.”


Hornitos is the larger Beam company’s second-biggest brand behind Jim Beam, which turned to Mila Kunis as its new spokesperson last year with the help of its agency partners StrawberryFrog, Jung Von Matt and Australia’s The Works.

VSA, which recently poached ECD/associate partner Chris Cancilla from TRISECT in Chicago, has won approximately 20 new accounts over the past year including Alibaba, Grant Thornton and Kimberly-Clark; it recently promoted the latter’s Kleenex brand with a spot focused on kids helping other, sadder kids.

Hornitos was a longtime client of Havas Chicago, but Beam Suntory took Sauza, Jim Beam and the latter away from the shop in 2013 and sent the brand to Miami’s La Comunidad, which focused on the #NotJustAnyTequila tagline with this campaign from the same year. Hornitos most recently got attention in trade pubs for a social media campaign tied to the release of the SyFy original Sharknado 3.

While Beam Suntory ultimately went with a familiar party in this review, we hear that the decision-making process was delayed for several weeks and that three other agencies competed with VSA in the final round.

The parent company spent $902.6 million on paid media in 2014, marking a big increase from its $674.4 million total for 2013.