Allied Domecq set for Cordiant move

Allied Domecq is in talks with Cordiant about handing the global marketing task for some of its flagship brands, including Tia Maria and Courvoisier, to the network.

The deal, which is not thought to have been signed yet, would see the Bates network take over worldwide advertising for several key Allied Domecq brands. Its integrated arm 141 would take responsibility for direct marketing.

Fitch, the Cordiant-owned branding consultancy, would handle global design for the drinks giant.

Globally, Allied Domecq's four core spirits brands are Ballantine's scotch whisky, Beefeater gin, Kahlua and Sauza tequila. It also owns a number of brands that occupy top positions in local markets.

In the UK these include number two cognac Courvoisier, coffee liqueur Tia Maria and the number one port brand Cockburn's. Talks between Allied Domecq and Cordiant are understood to be focusing on these brands, Ballantine's, and others. "We have not appointed any agencies, and we cannot say any more than that, said an Allied Domecq spokeswoman.

Any deal would trigger a global realignment of Allied Domecq's agency relationships, which are arranged on a country-by-country basis.

The UK accounts for less than 6% of Allied's international sales, which means only a fraction of its marketing budget is spent here.

In the past few years, Tia Maria has attracted most of the firm's UK ad support, with regular TV campaigns through Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R on the 'Princess of Darkness' theme.

Whisky brand Teacher's is handled by Mountainview, while Courvoisier has been at the centre of a protracted review since February. CBA handles direct marketing for the Teacher's, Cockburn's, and Harvey's sherries brands.

Senior management at Cordiant and Bates UK refused to comment as Marketing went to press.


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