Universal lands Wm Grant brief

Universal McCann has beaten OMD to the global strategic media planning account for Scotch whisky company William Grant & Sons, after a protracted pitch.

Universal will also be handling media buying in most of the countries the drinks company operates in, with some exceptions – including the UK, where John Ayling & Associates retains the business. The total value of the worldwide account is not known, but the European spend is about £8m.

William Grant international marketing director Tim Dewey says the decision was a tough one, but the fact that the company’s creative agency, McCann-Erickson, which is also Universal’s sister agency, “has done such a great job on the creative” finally tipped the balance in Universal’s favour – as did the fact that Universal was already handling the business in France, William Grant’s biggest market.

Although McCann holds the global creative account, its relationship with William Grant in the UK has been mixed. It handled the UK creative business until June 1999, when it was given to BMP DDB. But in December last year, William Grant pulled it from BMP and gave it back to McCann (MW December 13, 2001).

William Grant & Sons owns blended whisky Grant’s – which sells about 4 million cases a year globally, making it the world’s fourth-most popular blended whisky – premium single malt Glenfiddich and super-premium The Balvenie, as well as premium packaged spirit Taboo. According to Nielsen Media Research, the company spent £931,000 on advertising Glenfiddich in the UK in the year to June 30, and £258,000 on Grant’s.

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