BrandBuzz Bows British Gin in U.S.

NEW YORK Taste will be the focus of Plymouth Gin’s introduction to U.S. consumers when Absolut Spirits, which has been working to diversify its portfolio, debuts the new import via a $3 million marketing campaign beginning this week.

The British product, reputed to have been the primary ingredient in the first martini (as well as a favorite of Winston Churchill), is being marketed in print with copy that simply asks consumers to try it. “It’s been mixed, stirred and shaken. But so far, it hasn’t been beaten” is the headline. Tag: “The gin of taste.”

It also plays up that fact it has defeated other popular brands in taste tests challenging consumers to see “how your gin stacks up against it.” Young & Rubicam division BrandBuzz, New York, handles.

“The brand is not flashy or in your face,” said Hayes Tauber, international brands manager for New York-based Absolut Spirits. “The number one strategy is focusing consumers on what really matters: the taste of the product.”

Plymouth Gin, first distilled in 1793, will seek a foothold in target markets before launching a larger national effort. Ads will run in daily newspapers during the summer and holidays in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Sampling will play a big role as Tauber said some two-thirds of the marketing budget would be dedicated to getting the gin directly into people’s mouths. “We’ll be at the top 20 high-end super-premium accounts in all six markets,” he said. Bartenders and retailers will also be courted. “We’re going after Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray aggressively,” he said. “We’re a challenger brand, whereas Absolut is in a whole other place.”