Bell’s hit by sales fall despite return to TV ads

Bell’s Whisky suffered a 12 per cent decline in volume sales through supermarkets in the three months up to Christmas, despite being the highest-spending spirit brand to advertise on television.

According to Nielsen Scantrack data disclosed to Marketing Week, the whisky market declined by five per cent in volume sales through multiple grocers in the 12 weeks to December 23 1995, compared with the same period the previous year. Nielsen refused to confirm the data.

Bell’s 12 per cent decline is compared with an 18 per cent rise by Matthew Gloag’s Famous Grouse brand, which did not use TV ads.

Bell’s was the first whisky brand to break the industry’s self-imposed embargo on TV advertising, with its black and white “Craft” and “Crack” campaigns which broke last September. Until Christmas, Bell’s spent nearly 1m on the push in the Granada, Scottish, Channel 4 in Scotland and Ulster regions.

It was the highest spending spirit brand on TV last year, followed by Smirnoff Black which spent 901,000, Bacardi at 792,000, Teachers at 340,000 and Whyte & Mackay at 128,000 (Register-MEAL).

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here