CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; Cointreau client hits the spot

Caroline Marshall talks to the man who is confident of an ‘old’ brand’s values

Caroline Marshall talks to the man who is confident of an ‘old’ brand’s


To many marketers, the idea of relaunching a brand that young people

associate with boring dinner parties full of middle-aged couples would

have all the appeal of professional suicide - hard work with scant

guarantee of success. But Cointreau’s global marketing director, Olivier

Charriaud, tackles the task with such enthusiasm that you start to

believe he could nurture the most inaccessible of brands out of a rut.

‘Cointreau is a sleeping giant,’ he enthuses, in the perfect English of

a business school graduate. ‘It’s intriguingly sensual and strong.’

Charriaud, 33, has appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty to launch an pounds 8

million international ad blitz for the brand. The appointment follows a

pitch between Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury and

two French agencies - DDB Paris and the incumbent, FCB Paris.

So why BBH? Charriaud hesitates, offers an honourable mention for Howell

Henry, then says that BBH’s ability to ‘reveal the brand further’ swung

the day.

The new ads, which will break in 1997, will not resurrect the ghosts of

the dinner-table lovers, Catherine and Christian, who were pensioned off

in 1990 when the account left DDB Needham for FCB. FCB’s work - which

sought to give the brand a less formal image with the line ‘the second

thing you noticed was that she was drinking Cointreau’ - never managed

to translate into an international campaign.

Charriaud graduated from French business school and has stints with

Pernod in the UK and Sydney on his CV. After five years with United

Distillers in Paris, he joined Remy Cointreau in 1994.

His two years there helped him to define the essence and potential of

the brand which, while starved of adspend, has been nurtured by

promotions, including an on-pack CD-Rom featuring a virtual cocktail

machine. Taking his cue from this, Charriaud’s preferred tipple is a

Brazilian number called Ca•pirinha, featuring Cointreau, lime juice and

crushed ice - not the sort of drink for middle-aged dinner parties at

all really.

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