3 Shops Await Decision in Skyy Vodka Review

Winner will succeed longtime incumbent Lambesis

Skyy Vodka is in the late stages of a creative review with three finalists awaiting a decision, according to sources.

Sources identified the contenders as Venables Bell & Partners, Mekanism and Mistress. Final presentations have taken place and decision could come in the next few days, a source said. The consultancy R3:JLB is managing the search.

Skyy's media spending is expected to rise next year to an estimated $30 million. That represents a substantial uptick from last year, when spending totaled around $10 million, according to Nielsen. That figure doesn't include online outlays, however.

Media planning and buying were not in play and those responsibilities remain at WPP Group's Mindshare.

The winner will succeed Lambesis, a La Jolla, Calif.-based agency that has led creative efforts on the vodka since its 1998 launch. As the brand has grown, so has the scope of those efforts. Last year, for example, Skyy added TV ads to the mix.

On its Web site, Lambesis notes how the brand's recent double-digit percentage sales growth outstrips that of vodka rivals. Such results have been recognized via industry honors, including a Hot Brand Award from Impact Databank. So, even with the loss of a key account, Lambesis will have an impressive case history.

Skyy is marketed by Campari America, whose portfolio also includes Wild Turkey bourbon and liqueurs like Ouzo, Midori and Campari. The company, which is based in San Francisco, had no comment on the review.

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