Court Burkitt wins Bell’s as UDV rejigs

WCRS has lost its high-profile Bell’s whisky business, becoming the first casualty of a global advertising review by United Distillers & Vintners.

WCRS has lost its high-profile Bell’s whisky business, becoming the

first casualty of a global advertising review by United Distillers &

Vintners.



The agency has forfeited the pounds 1.5 million account after six years

to Court Burkitt & Company, which already handles a number of UDV

brands, including Archers, Baileys and Malibu, in the UK. WCRS’s other

slice of UDV business, the Classic Malts, is also up for review.



Despite losing to a local agency in this instance, WCRS’s loss is part

of a worldwide rethink intended to align most of UDV’s advertising into

its three international networks - Leo Burnett, the Lowe Group and J.

Walter Thompson.



As part of the international shake down, UDV also plans to centralise

its pounds 30 million media spend in the UK (Campaign, 27 February) and

this week culled MindShare from the shortlist, leaving TMD Carat and

Western International Media to fight it out.



On the creative front internationally, Burnetts handles the Johnnie

Walker brands, Gordon’s gin and Tanqueray gin; Lowes looks after the

Smirnoff brands, Bailey’s, Malibu and Sheridans; and JWT has Cinzano and

J&B.



CBC is understood to have won the business because of a long association

with IDV, dating from the late 70s.



Although some other exceptions may be made locally for similar reasons,

most of UDV’s estimated 140 unaligned agencies worldwide are now bracing

themselves for bad news. In the UK, business worth an estimated pounds

30 million could be up for grabs from agencies such as St Luke’s, which

handles Tony’s Freezer Cocktails and Gin-zing, and Young & Rubicam,

which handles Jose Cuervo and Croft Sherry.



A UDV spokesman confirmed: ’The UK has taken the decision to switch the

Bell’s whisky account to CBC at a date to be mutually agreed. The

Classic Malts is still under review, as are all other brands and

agencies worldwide.’



Tom Rodwell, CBC’s vice-chairman, said: ’We have heard unofficially that

we have won Bell’s and we are obviously delighted. We hope to create as

good a success for the brand as we have for all our other UDV brands

over the years.’



Robin Wight, the chairman of WCRS, was not prepared to comment on the

news.



UDV’s rethink follows the recent merger of International Distillers &

Vintners and United Distillers to form the spirits division of

Diageo.



It is being supervised in the UK by a new marketing director, Tony

Scouller.



Scouller was previously the marketing chief of IDV.