UDV spends £15m on ad in fight against economic slowdown

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A record £15m spend on advertising by wine and spirits giant UDV this month is one of the steps in its fight against an economic slowdown.The TV and...

A record £15m spend on advertising by wine and spirits giant UDV this month is one of the steps in its fight against an economic slowdown.

The TV and satellite campaigns are the first major investment in the five-month-old company's drive to increase marketing of its brands.

Starting last week, the advertising is expected to give a kick to sluggish orders from pubs stocking up for Christmas.

"Stock movement to the retail trade has been later this year," said Tony Mair, managing director of UDV Brands.

"But in the second week of December I think demand will go mad and some people may be left behind."

UDV Brands' product range includes Scotch whisky Bell's, Gordon's gin and Smirnoff vodka.

This is the first Christmas for UDV which was created in July out of the merger of Guinness' and Grand Metropolitan's wine and spirit businesses.

The December campaign includes £2m on Bell's and £3m on Smirnoff, with nearly £240,000 being spent across all brands on trade advertising.

"We are investing heavily in Christmas and it will be outstandingly a larger share of the market," Mair said.

But he said next year's initiatives would help to head off any pressures from an economic downturn. These include the rebranding of Smirnoff vodka and the rolling out of newer brands, such as Goldshlager schnapps.

"Our retailers are concerned but we are optimistic about the near future," he said.

"We are employing more people out in the field than before and investing more money than before."

Nick Blazquez, managing director of UDV Morgan Furze, said future strategies included a drive to boost year-round sales for brands which were seasonal.

This includes products such as Baileys, at its peak at Christmas, and Pimms, at its peak in the summer.

"We can't develop profit growth by simply growing market share, so we will be growing the categories as a whole," he said.

A focus of this will be a drive to boost demand for whisky, represented in the £2m project to build a Bell's heritage centre in Perth.

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