TBWA to Tout Mystery ‘Martell’

Cognac’s Female Persona to Position Beverage as ‘Hip’
NEW YORK–TBWA Worldwide is planning an estimated $35-40 million global print push behind Seagram Spirits & Wine’s Martell cognac this September that will unveil a mysterious woman, named “Martell,” who will embody the brand.
The campaign is also expected to play up the VS (“very superior”) mark of the base brand, priced about $30 at retail.
TBWA Worldwide, New York, which picked up the account in January, will orchestrate the creative around this unknown female, who will be positioned as the “it” woman. She will be represented as a woman of mystery, usually seen as a fleeting character whom everyone has just missed as she comes and goes from urban hot spots.
“This is an urban brand, and Seagram doesn’t want to push away from that,” one source said. “They are trying to change the face of it and trying to make it a hip drink.”
The Martell portfolio also includes a VSOP (“very superior old pale”) mark and the proprietary Cordon Bleu. Sources said the company will implement a search for “Martell” this summer, but were unsure whether the search will involve consumers at on-premises parties and other events or will be an internally conducted scouting of up-and-comers.
Currently, Martell ranks No. 4 in the segment, with volume estimated at 250,000 cases in 1999–about flat with 1998 volume–in a category led by UDV’s Hennessy, at 1.3 million cases, per Impact, New York.
Among the brand’s rivals, Remy Amerique’s Remy Martin surged 33 percent to 450,000 cases, leapfrogging the No. 2 player, Courvoisier, an Allied Domecq brand, at 440,000 cases.
Other spirits manufacturers who have employed similar gambits include Bacardi, which last year unveiled a character named “Mr. Smooth” as personification of its Tropico brand. K

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