Southern Comfort Site Complements Offline Ads

NEW YORK Just in time for Mardi Gras, Brown-Forman’s Southern Comfort has launched the interactive component of its integrated marketing program.

The Flash-based Web site ( features a special section that carries the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras, which starts Thursday in New Orleans, the 1874 birthplace of Southern Comfort. For those who can’t make it to Bourbon Street, the site offers party kits and a recipe for Southern Hurricanes, the signature cocktail of the celebration.

“We want to draw attention to the parallel between Southern Comfort and its New Orleans heritage,” said Eric Healy, director of interactive operations for Arnold. Arnold Interactive in Boston is responsible for the Web site, e-mail marketing and other online initiatives. Kleier Communications in Louisville, Ky., designed the former site.

The online effort also complements the brand’s “Between Friends” offline campaign, which broke in September from Arnold in St. Louis. Like the TV, print and radio ads that focus on genuine moments between friends, the site follows the escapades of six friends in new episodes that appear every six weeks.

The marketing program marks the first time “all the channels are working together. There is a consistency of the look, tone and feel of the marketing campaign,” said Healy, adding that previous efforts treated each medium separately.

The Web site, which aims to attract 21- to 29-year-old, college-educated professionals with active lifestyles, also features the offline ads. One TV spot shows a wedding party frolicking on the roof of a building as they toast with Southern Comfort; a print ad has a group of friends relaxing at a bar. Print ads, point-of-sale materials and online banners and rich media ads carry the URL.

Other features include a historical timeline of the brand, a downloadable “party planner,” drink and food recipes and a list of events.

Southern Comfort spent $3 million in measured media during the first 11 months of 2002, and $7 million in 2001, according to CMR.