Bombay Sapphire starts global agency hunt

The upmarket gin brand Bombay Sapphire has resurrected its search for an agency to create a global advertising campaign. It has enlisted a global marketing director from its US office, Marshall Dawson, to lead the hunt.

Dawson is talking to a range of agencies about a creative brief. Three agencies, including Clemmow Hornby Inge and M&C Saatchi, were on the original pitchlist drawn up last year by Dawson's predecessor, Paul Murphy. The pitch, which centred on developing a global press campaign for the brand, was put on hold after Murphy resigned and the company started to look for a new brand director.

Dawson was responsible for the Dewar's whisky brand in the US, which was bought, along with Bombay Sapphire, from Diageo for £1.15 billion in 1998.

The reopened pitch comes as the brand's owner, Bacardi-Martini, seeks to build on the brand's rising popularity in the UK. According to Mintel, Bombay Sapphire has a 5.8 per cent share of the market and is the number-two brand behind Gordon's Gin, which dominates the sector with a 41.9 per cent share.

Although gin has become a less fashionable spirit since the 60s, a core of heavy drinkers has maintained sales of the drink. Bombay Sapphire is the fastest-growing gin brand and has doubled its share since 2000. It competes closely with Plymouth Gin.

UK marketing for the brand is headed by Sharon Reid and focuses heavily on direct activity. WWAV Rapp Collins North was appointed in April 2002 to handle the first-ever direct marketing campaign for the brand.

McCann-Erickson handles the global advertising account for Bacardi.