Gordon's Gin in rethink after less than a year

Bartle Bogle Hegarty's future tenure of the £3 million

Gordon's Gin creative account is in question amid reports that the

business is to be reviewed after less than a year at the agency.

Agency Insight is said to be co-ordinating the review, which is expected

to involve roster agencies only. BBH won the business in September last

year, breaking Leo Burnett's 12-year hold on the account.

The threat comes as the brand fights a rearguard action against the

growing threat of alternative drinks, particularly own-label gin brands,

wine and premium packed spirits such as Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff

Ice, which are more appealing to younger drinkers.

The switch acknowledged the fact that expensive TV and cinema campaigns

through Burnett had failed to woo younger drinkers - many of whom prefer

to drink more easily mixed vodka - and signalled a return to targeting

its traditional market of consumers aged 40 and over.

But last month Guinness UDV, the brand's owner, confirmed it was

reviewing its strategy and working with BBH on new ideas after admitting

that the target market was "difficult to crack" using press.

This week the company intimated that it was talking to agencies "to get

a different perspective or to canvass new ideas". The media account,

which is handled by Carat, is thought not to be affected.

The rethink takes place against what has been a steady erosion of

Gordon's dominance of the UK gin market. In 1993, the brand claimed a 47

per cent share but this had dropped to 43 per cent within five years.

Own-label share grew from 35 to 40 per cent during the same period.

The brand fought back through Burnett with a campaign featuring a

denim-clad pool player and the line "Gordon's as experienced by a


At BBH, Gordon's reverted to targeting its more mature core audience

with a press campaign with the theme "truly great" and featuring

celebrities doing things they are not famous for. These included the

former Test cricketer David Gower sculpting a clay pot and the Olympic

rower Matthew Pinsent writing a poem. The line was: "You can be truly

great at only one thing."