SpikeDDB Nabs Rémy Martin Biz

Presenting a strategy that focused on educating consumers about varying grades of cognac, SpikeDDB was awarded Rémy Martin cognac’s U.S. creative account.

The New York shop, a unit of DDB, bested incumbent Ellenson Group in New York and two un disclosed others for the estimated $5-10 million account. CIA Media network in New York handles media. DDB handles creative overseas.

“We looked for where our fastest, biggest growth came from, and that’s the African American market,” said Larry Neuringer, marketing director for Rémy Martin in the U.S.

“We had a complete two-day indoctrination on cognac and visited the fields [in France] where the grapes are grown,” said Spike Lee, chairman and chief creative officer. “I didn’t even know there was an actual place called Cognac. In World War II, they hid the stuff from the Nazis.”

A radio, print and outdoor campaign set to break in the fall will also have a general market component, Lee added. Part of the strategy is to make consumers aware of the distinctions between the “everyday” VS cognac and the upscale VSOP, said Dana Wade, SpikeDDB president. Rémy Martin is the No. 2 cognac behind Hennessy in the U.S.

Spending on Rémy Martin in the U.S. was about $3 million in 2000. SpikeDDB claims $30 million in bill ings; other clients include New Era and the NFL.