APL lands £20m golden Finlandia Vodka account

Ammirati Puris Lintas has won the $30m (£20m) global account for Finlandia Vodka, with a brief to create an international campaign for the premium spirit brand.

The pitch, held at Finlandia’s Helsinki head office, saw APL defeat networks DDB and Grey. Previous global campaigns have been run through the DDB network.

The account will be run from APL Helsinki and will launch first in western, central and eastern Europe and Latin America, then in other markets outside the US. There the account is handled by the Martin Agency, a subsidiary of the Lowe Group whose owner is APL parent IPG.

APL will handle advertising, public relations and interactive communications for the brand and claims it will create “great integrated communications”.

Tom Venho, Finlandia’s global marketing manager says: “We are aiming to double global sales by 2003 from the current level of 1.3 million cases a year. In the US, Absolut sells 4 million cases a year, but we are bigger in Europe.”

The campaign will run in the UK, where Finlandia is distributed by Highland Distilleries. APL used an international team to pitch for the account. >

WCRS created work for Forte’s upmarket Heritage hotel chain, starring musician and TV presenter Jools Holland.

But following a company restructure and the appointment of a new marketing chief, advertising arrangements for Forte are now under review.

A spokeswoman for Forte Hotels says: “We may hold a pitch at the beginning of the new financial year in September. That is all currently under discussion. WCRS may wish to repitch – it will be open.”

Forte has not yet decided whether to use separate agencies to work on each of its brands or to take the single agency route.

Its new structure was mapped out by chief executive Antoine Cau in July to match its three key brands: Posthouse, Heritage and Le Meridien.

Previously, the company had been structured on a geographical rather than brand-led basis.

In March, Peter Cardnell, former managing director Middle East and West Asia for the Forte-owned Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, was appointed to the position of worldwide managing director of marketing and sales (MW March 18).

His appointment was made after marketing director Suki Kalirai’s job was axed in February.

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