Johnnie Walker looks to global DM network

The drinks giant Diageo is looking for a direct marketing network to handle relationship marketing for its Johnnie Walker whisky brand on a global basis.

A brief has been sent out for Johnnie Walker Black Label to four unnamed networks, but this is expected to extend to other Johnnie Walker brands.

The news comes as spirits advertising in the UK comes under increased government scrutiny and the prospect of a TV ad ban becomes a distinct possibility.

Until now, Diageo has favoured an above-the-line strategy. Bartle Bogle Hegarty was awarded the global account in 1999 and has since created the "keep walking" and "fish" campaigns.

Johnnie Walker's global headquarters in Amsterdam is handling the review.

A spokeswoman confirmed the pitch and added that it will be the first time Diageo appoints a global CRM agency to handle the brand.

Chemistry was appointed to handle the Johnnie Walker account in the UK in 2002, but Diageo later decided to continue with above-the-line advertising. The agency is retained on the Diageo roster, however.

Diageo moved to build loyalty and customer relations at the beginning of the year when it appointed Carlson Digital to create a global website.