Kendall-Jackson Chooses Open Minds

LOS ANGELES Sonoma County vintner Kendall-Jackson has named independent Open Minds as its creative and media agency after a summerlong review, the client confirmed.

The assignment would mostly involve print work, said Ruth Souroujon, vice president of marketing at the Santa Rosa, Calif., winery, and involve “A taste of the truth” campaign that would “play off the maverick reputation” of proprietor Jess Jackson, giving oenophiles an intimate portrait of his philosophy. The company is launching a new capsule package with copy and signature for its flagship brand Vintner’s Reserve in October and will introduce the Highland Estates “micro-cru,” according to Souroujon.

Souroujon said the company “has new ambitions for the brand that are much bigger than the holiday season. We’re returning to the roots and essence of the wine and the fact that it is family owned. There’s an educational component to the campaign.”

“Advertising can make you seem too large,” Souroujon said. “Our issue is not brand awareness but brand appreciation.”

Souroujon, who joined the company in January, said the vintner was using only roster shops when the review began in May, paring an original list to nine undisclosed agencies, then selecting Open Minds, Irvine, Calif., a division of RPA, Santa Monica, Calif.

“They were looking for general attitudes, philosophies, approaches to business, comfort,” said Angelo Ponzi, agency evp and director of marketing. “They were less interested in specific campaign ideas than our understanding of the business and their brand. That was refreshing.”

Ponzi said the creative team assigned the work would be president Mark Choate and vp and cd Powell Michael, both of whom have worked on Budweiser and Bud Light, among other spirits brands. New work will break in the fourth quarter, he said.

Kendall-Jackson spent $1.5 million on advertising in 2003 and $500,000 through July 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.