Southern Comfort outlines plan for growth

Southern Comfort is launching a marketing campaign to position the brand as a liqueur to be consumed in relaxed environments and away from a drink to be enjoyed in “high-tempo social” occasions in a bid to set itself apart from rivals.

The activity, which rolls out from November, marks its biggest advertising campaign in the UK for five years

It centres around a Wieden+Kennedy created ‘Beach’ TV spot that features a middle-age man walking along a crowded beach in his swimming trunks with a glass of Southern Comfort. The advert is soundtracked by the song ‘Hit or Miss’ by American singer Odetta.

Southern Comfort says the advert marks a shift from previous campaigns that have “pushed the brand’s heritage”, after it admitted that its New Orleans’ roots were not resonating with drinkers outside of North America.

Gwen Ridsdale, marketing manager for Southern Comfort UK & Ireland, says the company realised that it has been trying to force the brand into “high-tempo” environments such as bars and clubs in recent years, despite consumers saying it is for a more relaxed drinking occasions with friends, alone or with a partner.

She adds: “The Southern Comfort brand has been chugging along and hasn’t been growing exponentially in recent years, despite us investing in a lot of product innovation during this time. Because we’re a brand aimed at young-adults we’ve looked at similar brands to us like Jägermeister and tried to do what they do. This hasn’t worked for us and a result some consumers haven’t had an emotional connection to the brand.

“We’re moving the brand into different drinking occasions than we have done in the past. It’s a very different approach to what typical alcohol brands are doing. They often tell consumers you have to be more beautiful and richer, whereas we’re just saying its ok to be yourself.”

Separately, the company is to expand its flavoured whiskey portfolio to more variants as part of a renewed focus on NPD.