Pernod Ricard seeks agency for Jameson whiskey

LONDON - The drinks giant Pernod Ricard is currently in talks with a number of UK agencies about its Jameson Irish whiskey account.

The discussions, which are being brokered through Agency Assessments International, are understood to be first-stage capability meetings and include at least two London-based agencies.

Jameson's current agency, the Manchester-based BDH\TBWA, has held the account for more than two years.

Agencies currently on the Pernod Ricard roster include Ogilvy Advertising, Publicis and Dare. Media is handled by Vizeum and is believed to be unaffected by the review.

BDH\TBWA developed the recent television campaign that aims to challenge some traditional assumptions about whisky drinkers.

The three spots in the campaign, which aired heavily in the run-up to Christmas, featured unexpected musical performances from tap dancers, a dreadlocked harpist and a septuagenarian drummer. Other recent work includes a guerilla press and viral campaign promoting the Jameson Urban Golf Event.

The agency hunt comes as UK sales of whisky are predicted to fall at an annual rate of 9 per cent over the next four years, according to Mintel.

The brand's principal rival is the Irish whiskey Bushmills, which has been owned by Diageo since 2005. The brand's marketing strategy plays heavily on its Irish heritage; it was named the official spirit of the Ireland rugby union team in a deal signed at the end of last year.

Pernod Ricard, which also owns the Martell cognac and Jacob's Creek brands, last year acquired its British rival Allied Domecq.

The deal, worth £7.4 billion, added several new brands to its portfolio, including Beefeater Gin, Tia Maria and Ballantine's whisky.

Neither Pernod Ricard nor Agency Assessments International would comment on the Jameson review.