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).

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