GS&H Prevails in Blackstone Winery Review

SAN FRANCISCO Independent agency Grant Scott & Hurley has won the account of Blackstone Winery, which plans to increase its annual advertising budget fivefold to an estimated $5 million.

Brian Hurley, co-founder of the San Francisco shop, said the review lasted six months, and the incumbent, Anda-Burghardt Advertising in Monterey, Calif., participated as well. Other contenders were not disclosed.

Hurley said GS&H’s strategy is to keep the image of Blackstone’s top-selling merlot from becoming too common. “The trick now becomes how to continue to grow this brand while retaining its authentic boutique image,” Hurley said.

Pacific Wine Partners, which owns Blackstone, chose GS&H because it knows how to grow a brand and retain the client’s small-winery charm. “They understand the power that consumers feel when they ‘discover’ a wine and have created a campaign that captures this feeling,” said Ben Dollard, president of PWP.

The campaign includes print breaking next month in 55 newspapers as well as magazines such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Food & Wine.

The estimated 2004 ad push would be significant compared to what Blackstone has spent in the past, $38,000 in 2002 and $600,000 through November 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.