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
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
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.