Van Gogh Vodka Taps Black Lab

LOS ANGELES Luctor International has awarded advertising duties for its estimated $2 million Vincent Van Gogh Vodka account to Black Lab, sources said.

The independent shop in Santa Monica, Calif., overcame finalists Ignited Minds in Marina de Rey, Calif., WongDoody in Los Angeles and Gardner Geary Coll in San Francisco, all independents, according to sources.

Black Lab is charged with touting the Reno, Nev., importer’s line of flavored vodkas and vodka-based liqueurs. Van Gogh, which trails larger, more well-known premium brands like Grey Goose and Belvedere, has not advertised in two years and instead has relied on promotions carried out through distributors to increase awareness of its products. Van Gogh’s last agency was Trahan, Burden & Charles in Baltimore.

Luctor officials declined to comment on the agency selection. Black Lab executives could not immediately be reached.

Van Gogh began its review last October. The company’s search process had outraged some agency executives and at least five shops withdrew from the review after expressing concern that the client, which had not established an ad budget, was seeking free strategy, ideas and creative [Adweek Online, Jan. 8].

Van Gogh has said it aims to launch a campaign in May.