Mary Carmichael
Diageo has increased the marketing budget for its Gordon's brand to £25m in a bid to continue what it claims is the first gin category growth in a decade.
The drinks giant is also rounding off this year's £23m activity with a two-week poster campaign for PPS offspring Gordon's Edge, while another burst of the Ice Chess' TV ad for the veteran parent brand runs until Christmas.
Three fifths (£15m)of the 2003 budget is earmarked for the gin, with Edge given the remainder. New activity is likely to follow a similar path to this year and looks set to include TV and cinema advertising and posters in April with below-the-line activity scheduled for the summer.
The company claimed the relaunch of its fourth biggest brand ­ which included the first bottle change in 60 years ­ had been a major factor in reversing the gin category's 10-year decline. It puts current volume growth at 2%. "We have done what we said we were going to do when we announced our relaunch plans back in April," said senior brand manager Mark Sandys.
He added that the launch of Gordon's Edge in the summer had also helped to raise gin's profile and make it more relevant to younger consumers.
Christine Sandys, Budgens' wine and spirits buyer, agreed that the launch of Gordon's Edge had added another dimension to the PPS market and boosted the parent brand, but she was more cautious about category growth. "Diageo's investment has certainly arrested the decline," she said, "and if they're in it for the long-term, growth may come through."
This year's activity also covered London-based promotions and ongoing relationship marketing which included offering on-trade consumers a branded mini Rough Guide to London. Diageo plans to extend this to reach more than half a million consumers in the coming year.