afaqs!

JWT retains Smirnoff business

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | April 21, 2011
About six agencies participated in the month-long pitch that took place in Mumbai.

Vodka brand Smirnoff, from the alcoholic beverages company Diageo, has retained JWT as its creative agency of record. The pitch process, completed a few days ago, took place in Mumbai. The authorities on the account were keen on working with a networked agency with international presence, and eventually decided to continue working with JWT. The agency has been handling the creative duties for this account for a few years.

JWT pitched to defend its turf when the brand initiated the creative pitch process about a month ago. Reliable senior level sources in the industry inform afaqs! that the decision to retain JWT was finalised a few days ago. However, no official comment was available from either the agency or the Smirnoff team at the time of filing this report.

The pitch, apparently, involved two to three rounds of presentations. It is also learnt that while three advertising agencies battled it out in the final round, about six agencies took part in the overall process. While the names of all participating agencies could not be ascertained, it is learnt that towards the end it was down to Saatchi & Saatchi, McCann Erickson, and incumbent agency JWT.

Recently, Smirnoff was in the news for its unique consumer-connect initiative that involved appealing to consumers through the sense of smell in the POS (point of sale) space. For this initiative, a unique flavour-spray tester mounted on a 180 ml bottle was designed. A promotion person sprayed the flavour on a tester card and a customer could smell it and instantly decide if he liked the flavour (just the way consumers sample perfumes at malls).

The rationale was that since the consumer had gone to the liquor shop with a purchase intention, this flavour testing/smelling would aid in faster decision making and lead to instant sales. This was done across wine shops in Mumbai and Bengaluru in order to promote its then recently launched flavour, Smirnoff Lime. Design consultant company Lokusdesign had worked on the product design of this innovative spray, amongst other innovations for the brand.

For the record, OgilvyOne, the direct and digital marketing arm of the Ogilvy network, currently handles Smirnoff's presence in the digital (online and mobile) medium.

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