Publicis Dialog Tastes Success

Publicis Dialog here has won the Peak Wines business, the first time it will handle a wine account.

The agency won the $3 million business after a two-month review that included several undisclosed Northern California shops. Peak Wines, a division of Jim Beam Brands of Chicago, is produced at the Geyser Peak Winery in Sonoma County, Calif. There was no incumbent.

“Everyone is excited about this, because everyone contributed to this pitch,” said agency CEO Stacey Paynter. “Now we have to narrow it down to a team for the account, which will be tough.”

Paynter said the agency has several staffers who worked on wine accounts at prior jobs, including creative director Tom Kavanaugh. The client was also impressed with the shop’s packaged-goods experience.

“It’s a category a lot of agencies are passionate about, so we have people who have wine experience on our team,” Paynter said. “They were looking for a holistic approach, and we came the closest to nailing it. They said we had a grasp of the trade and the industry.”

The campaign will include print and may involve television ads as well. The agency will also design online ads and point-of-sale materials. No break date has been set.

Peak Wines vice president Stephen Brauer said he was impressed by the shop’s “collaborative” culture and lack of ego. He also said many people at the agency are avid wine drinkers.

“What I liked from this group was the fact that they are more than just an ad agency—they have strategic capabilities along with the traditional skills,” he said. “But what is especially important for the wine business is that they understand direct marketing.

“Not only do they have the right people, they have an understanding of the things that are important to our business,” Brauer said.

Paynter said the client has asked the shop to avoid the typical elements of wine advertising.

“It’s a cluttered category, and they don’t want ads with the vines and the glasses and the social occasions,” Paynter said. “They want it to be a premier [product] while avoiding the clichés.”

Sources said the relationship could expand to include other wine brands. Young & Rubicam handles many of the traditional Jim Beam brands, including liquor.

Publicis Dialog’s client roster in cludes Hewlett-Packard, Whirlpool, Bay View Bank and Microsoft Great Plains (a software program).