Martini marketer joins First Drinks

Chris Meredith, one of the key marketers behind Martini’s “beautiful people” campaign, has been appointed director of marketing at wine and spirits distributor First Drinks Brands.

Meredith, marketing controller for Westbay Distributors, replaces Derek Stothard, who is leaving to join a management consultancy in Cincinnati.

He joins First Drinks Brands in the midst of an ad review of under-performing aperitif Campari (MW July 10). The company recently acquired the distribution rights from Remy & Associates, and is committed to a relaunch of the brand.

First Drinks Brands is half-owned by Bacardi-Martini, which also owns Westbay in the UK, and half by William Grant & Sons.

Its portfolio of brands includes malt whiskies Glenfiddich and The Balvenie – recently acquired from Allied Domecq – plus Mirage, Taboo and Virgin Vodka.

Jeremy Main, managing director of First Drinks Brands, says Meredith will concentrate on Glenfiddich and the marketing of Campari. “We are very disappointed to lose Derek but delighted that Chris decided to join us,” he says.

Meredith, who was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press, oversaw the relaunch of Martini as part of an effort to woo younger drinkers, with high-profile campaigns through HHCL & Partners.

He joined Westbay Distributors in 1995 from Courage, where he was a senior national account manager.

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