CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK - Gordon’s craves youth appeal/Mark Jaffe is repositioning the gin brand at a younger market, Claire Cozens says

Mark Jaffe, senior brand manager for Gordon’s Gin, must have one of the most varied jobs in marketing. From the twin-set-and-pearls brigade at the Chelsea Flower Show to denim-clad hustlers in a pool hall, his remit covers almost every alcohol drinker in the UK.

Mark Jaffe, senior brand manager for Gordon’s Gin, must have one of

the most varied jobs in marketing. From the twin-set-and-pearls brigade

at the Chelsea Flower Show to denim-clad hustlers in a pool hall, his

remit covers almost every alcohol drinker in the UK.



UDV has just announced plans to spend pounds 12.5 million on promoting

Gordon’s this year in a marketing initiative that aims to please both

the traditional gin drinker and a younger generation of spirits

consumers.



It takes in sponsorship of the Chelsea Flower Show, the launch of a TV

and cinema commercial and an extension of the ’perfect serve’

initiative, which was launched in 1996 to teach bar and hotel staff how

to prepare the perfect Gordon’s and tonic.



In one sense, Jaffe seems to have a dream job. Gordon’s is already the

best-known gin brand, with a 41 per cent share of the UK market,

according to AC Nielsen figures for 1998. Most of the competition comes

from supermarket own-brands, and no other gin brand has a marketing

budget near that of Gordon’s.



But the challenge Jaffe has been set is to appeal to a younger

consumer.



The core market for Gordon’s is still ABC1s aged 45 and over - in

non-marketing speak, the stereotypical gin-quaffing retired Colonel

living in Tunbridge Wells. A new 40-second commercial, created by Leo

Burnett and due to break next week, is designed to attract younger

drinkers as well as appealing to existing gin consumers.



’The big priority now is to appeal to 25- to 34-year-olds - both men and

women - who have tended not to drink spirits and to go more towards wine

and, to a lesser extent, beer,’ Jaffe says. ’But at the same time, we

need to keep talking to our loyal consumers. This commercial does both -

in research, we have found that older people really like it.’



The new ad is set in a downtown pool hall and shows a player failing to

pot the black and handing over a bundle of cash to his opponent. After

retiring to the bar for a Gordon’s and tonic, he returns to the table

and challenges the winner - the owner of the pool hall - to another

game, with the hall as the prize. The strapline reads: ’Gordon’s as

experienced by a hustler.’



Jaffe began his career as an advertising trainee at Tesco, where he

worked on local and national press and TV. He then moved to a broader

marketing role, becoming marketing manager for the grocery division.

From there, he joined UDV, where he has held a variety of jobs, taking

in both sales and marketing.



Having worked across a number of spirits brands at UDV, Jaffe says

Gordon’s is a personal favourite. There is, he says, no better way to

start the weekend than with a perfectly served Gordon’s and tonic.



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