From Hennessy to Heverlee, alcohol advertisers are refreshing their agency rosters


Analysis of the major advertising and media account moves of the week. Keep up with the latest client reviews and pitches here.

In this week’s installment of our new account moves & reviews column, we examine the alcohol advertisers shaking up their agency rosters as brandy giant Hennessy tries to capitalize on its association with basketball.

Droga5’s creatives will be toasting their success this week with a glass of brandy after being hired by cognac distillers Hennessy. Droga5 and Hennessy have worked together since 2011, but this latest win means an expanded remit for the agency, covering Hennessy’s partnership with the NBA.

Hennessy, the largest producer of cognac in the world (it accounts for 40% of French brandy production) and the H in luxury conglomerate LMVH, was named the official spirit of the NBA back in February of last year.

Droga has been appointed to build a new global creative platform targeting South Africa, Britain, Germany and China, with the intention of bouncing off the growing popularity of American basketball in those markets; the NBA precedes the NFL in this endeavor, having hosted pre-season matches in Britain as far back as 1993.

Hennessy is set to unveil its latest campaign, ’Make moves that start movements’, tonight to mark the 75th anniversary season of the NBA.

UK beer brands refresh social and PR partners

Another agency celebrating this week is Splendid Communications, which has been named UK consumer PR agency by Asahi UK for its Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand. Peroni already enjoys a position as the UK’s favorite premium beer, but wants to push its partnership with the Aston Martin Formula One team (presumably the drivers don’t partake) and its non-alcoholic line, Peroni Libera.

Jonathan Norman, global brands director at Asahi UK, said: “Splendid demonstrated a great understanding of the Peroni Nastro Azzurro brand and audiences, and showcased real energy for delivering impactful comms to more consumers through PR. It’s a big year for us and we believe we have the right strategic and creative partner to deliver on our ambitions.”

And Hydrogen, the largest social media agency in Scotland, has been appointed by Tennent Caledonian Breweries to work on two of its brands, Menebrea and Heverlee. Though Hydrogen already handles social for Highland Park whisky, the win is the agency’s first beer brief.

Nicky Logue, managing director of Hydrogen, said: “Our team love working with great brands and the history and heritage of both Heverlee and Menabrea speak for themselves. We can’t wait to get stuck in and start developing the strategy for the coming months.”

Moves you may have missed

  • Deutsch Bank has appointed Essence as its lead media agency. The win, which consolidates the German finance house’s media with a single agency for the first time, follows a competitive pitch managed by DWS.

  • Journey Further has been appointed by Virgin Money as its SEO partner. The agency held the business after a competitive review against five other bidding agencies.

  • National Australia Bank has retained Mindshare as its media agency; the agency has worked with the brand for the last decade.

  • DentsuMB won the account for Indian agri-commerce concern WayCool Foods. The agency already held the business for its dairy brands, but that remit has now been expanded right across WayCool’s consumer portfolio.

  • BuySingLit, the official campaign to boost Singaporean literature and publishing, has appointed the Hoffman Agency as its PR, media and creative agency.

  • Skincare startup Whind has appointed Digital Natives to create its social advertising content. Hind Sebti, founder of Whind, said: ”It was critical to find a partner that not only gets our brand proposition and values, but could design high performing content that best engages with our audience and builds our brand and our revenue.”

  • Independent fiber provider CityFibre has appointed UM as its media agency, following a competitive pitch. The firm supplies internet service providers with fiber infrastructure.