Harriet Green talks to the marketer who is drinking in a successful
first TV ad
Mixing drinks gives most of us a headache, but for Jonathan Stordy, a
cocktail of Smirnoff, Drambuie, Gonzales-Byass and Croft couldn’t be
As the marketing controller in charge of these brands at International
Distillers and Vintners, he oversaw the first TV advertising for
Smirnoff Black, which broke last week.
Lowe Howard-Spink’s epic ad underlines the drink’s heritage as the
tipple of Czars. (Topical product placement also sees Robbie Coltrane’s
Russian villain downing Smirnoff Black in the new Bond film, Goldeneye.)
Stordy, 33, is passionate about Smirnoff Black’s Russian ancestry and
insists it should be knocked back correctly. ‘It should be drunk neat
and straight out of the freezer,’ he enthuses.
Raised in Italy, Stordy read Spanish and Business Studies at Edinburgh
University. Then he landed a job at Unilever Export, marketing
toothpaste to Ecuador. Three years later he crossed over to Elida Gibbs,
specialising on Sunsilk, before leaving for IDV in 1990. ‘Unilever is a
great company,’ he says. ‘But as a type, I am better suited to a faster
and more entrepreneurial organisation.’
With IDV, he toured Spain as marketing manager for J&B, educating the
market. In 1994 he landed his current portfolio and immersed himself in
it with visits to Jerez (the home of sherry), Russian restaurants and
vodka bars. ‘You end up enjoying your brands a lot. And we get a wine
allowance to ‘champion the brands’.’
Stordy is an admirer of IDV’s non-bureaucratic working practices: ‘IDV
really believes in its major brands and spends heavily on them. It
believes in excellent advertising and fast innovation.’ But he’s a
prudent client: ‘When you’re investing large sums, you have to be very
careful how every penny is spent,’ he insists.
Outside work, this champion of Black isn’t bad on the greens. His golf
handicap has slipped - he was nearly a pro - but still stands at a
pretty impressive five. He lives with his wife, a barrister, and 18-
month-old son in Chiswick.