UDV chief blasts spirits ads on TV

Spirits manufacturers have failed to exploit the potential of television since restrictions on spirits advertising were lifted, according to the marketing director of one of the world’s biggest drinks companies.

Tony Scouller, marketing director of UDV UK, told an audience of media professionals this week: “These three years [since the lifting of the ban on spirits on TV in 1995] have seen a series of tragically missed opportunities.”

Although TV ad spend on spirits has risen from about 15m in 1995 to almost 42m in 1998, market share of spirits fell by more than 100m from 1992 to 1997.

Scouller concluded: “Manufacturers are guilty of dissipating effort across too many brands rather than concentrating energies on key brand leaders. This lack of focus will haunt us for years to come.”

He also criticised retailers for pursuit of own-label brands, ad agencies for being too concerned with creating ad awareness at the expense of brand persuasion, and ITV, which he said had served advertisers badly in terms of price and audience.

“ITV has made no attempt to prove the added value of its medium. Its initial contribution to the arrival of spirits advertising was to reduce viewing by young people and force up costs,” he said, speaking at a debate organised by media auditors the Billett Consultancy.

In a round-up of recent ads, Scouller singled out his own Smirnoff vodka brand, saying: “You have to ask whether Smirnoff Red has come to terms with television yet. I blame the marketing director.” Scouller is the marketing director in question.

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 customerservices@marketingweek.com

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