Vodka brand Absolut will get its first promotional drive under new owner Pernod Ricard (P-R) when it launches a major new promotional campaign.
P-R put much of the strong sales revealed in its 2008/2009 first half financial results earlier this week down to the brand, which it acquired last year. And it is pinning its hopes for further success with Absolut on a campaign, due to launch "in around a month's time", which will bid to position it as a premium vodka.
Chief executive Pierre Pringuet said this was consistent with attempts to position the company's brands in this market, as opposed to super premium, given the economic downturn.
"Premium brands are clearly the future," he said. "We needed to have a vodka brand in that premium market, given its growth. We straightaway went for Absolut when it came up for sale. It was a once in lifetime opportunity to acquire a major vodka brand."
Finance director John Leburn added that Absolut in the off-trade grew 30 per cent in value terms over the Christmas period bur declined in the off-trade in the same period "in line with the on-trade spirits market overall".
P-R's first half consolidated net sales increased by 13 per cent to €4,212m (£3,770m). The group put this down to five per cent organic growth and a strong group structure effect, primarily due to the acquisition of Absolut owner Vin & Sprit. It was purchased for £4.4bn in March.