Magazine article Marketing

Can Gordon's Gin Make Do with Its Old Friends?

Magazine article Marketing

Can Gordon's Gin Make Do with Its Old Friends?

Article excerpt

Gordon's Gin has made a dramatic move away from the youth market back to the drinkers whose former loyalty earned it a consistent slice of the gin sector.

For years UDV-owned Gordon's Gin enjoyed outright dominance of the UK gin sector. But while still the most popular gin, Gordon's lead has been eroded by the proliferation of alternatives, notably own-label gin brands and wine.

According to Mintel, in 1993 Gordon's had cornered 47% of the gin market, but by 1998 this had slipped to 43%. Meanwhile, the share of own-label brands swelled from 35% to 40%.

When drinks companies lifted their self-imposed ban on TV advertising of spirits in 1995, UDV doubled the Gordon's advertising budget to [pound]5.5m and launched the 'Innervigoration' campaign. Sales climbed, but the recovery was short-lived.

Last year Gordon's launched a two-pronged attack through Leo Burnett. A direct marketing campaign and a newTV ad, 'Hustler', aimed at wooing younger drinkers.

This year, after moving its advertising business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty in August, Gordon's has abandoned the youth audience in favour of a strategy targeting its lapsed, older drinkers.

The new campaign uses well-known personalities to convey the theme 'You can only be truly great at one thing'. These show a poem written by Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent and a clay pot sculpted by cricketer David Gower.

Gordon's marketing manager Simon Soothill says: "Research shows 40% of gin drinkers account for 60% of volume consumed, yet we have not spoken to them for ten years."

But is this the tonic Gordon's needs? Marketing asked for the views of two drinks specialists -- MediaVest's Graeme Adams, media planner on Southern Comfort, and Chris Hunton, managing partner in charge of Bacardi at McCann-Erickson.


During the mid-90s Gordon's Gin undertook a project to reposition itself as an 18-to 34-year-old's brand, and in terms of success it ranked alongside the likes of Guinness and Lucozade.

Times have changed and the number of drinks brands targeting 18-to 34-year-olds has arguably reached saturation point. Brands such as Gordon's have recently felt the squeeze, not only from the traditional spirits sector, but also the Premium Packaged Spirit (PPS) sector. …

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