Mckinney Vies For Liqueur

Opposes 2 N.Y. Contenders For Bacardi’s Amaretto
NEW YORK–McKinney & Silver is the lone Southeast contender gunning for creative chores on Di Saronno Amaretto, for which Bacardi-Martini USA now has domestic sales and marketing rights. McKinney is battling Ammirati Puris Lintas and DeVito/Verdi, both New York.
A Bacardi representative, who confirmed the review and contenders, estimated the account at $4 million. Sources close to the review, however, said spending could hit $10 million.
McKinney chief executive officer Don Maurer was traveling last week and could not be reached for comment. His Raleigh, N.C.-based agency’s work for Miller Brewing’s Pale Rider Ale gives it category experience.
Media planning and buying duties were recently awarded to Ammirati, which handles both media and creative work for a variety of Bacardi brands. Bacardi, which already had the marketing license for Di Saronno Amaretto in Canada, has domestic rights for the next three years.
Sources said the shops were given a paid creative assignment due back in late August. A new advertising campaign is expected to be launched soon after an agency is appointed in September or October, a source said.
Cain Associates, New York, was the most recent agency to craft advertising for Di Saronno Amaretto. The shop works with United Distillers and Vintners, which previously marketed the brand. A November campaign in upscale magazines tried to broaden the liqueur’s appeal by positioning it as a versatile mixer. A series of three, two-page spreads showed the product being dispensed from unexpected vessels, e.g., a blow torch.
The liqueur was also handled at one point by Mullen. That Wenham, Mass., agency conceived the “Di Saronno starts with a D and ends with an Ohhh!” tagline.
Competitive Media Reporting estimates that Di Saronno Amaretto spent nearly $3 million on domestic above-the-line advertising in 1997 and $1-2 million in the first quarter of 1998. –with Jim Osterman