Arun Sudhaman 22 Feb 2016 // 2:32PM GMT
LONDON—Spirits group William Grant & Sons has brought in Splendid Communications to handle global consumer PR duties for the Hendrick's Gin and Balvenie brands, the Holmes Report can reveal.
The decision follows a competitive review, reported last year by the Holmes Report, after William Grant chose to part ways with seven-year incumbent Steely Fox.
Hendrick's gin and The Balvenie whisky are viewed as two of William Grant's key growth drivers. It is also understood that William Grant handed PR duties for new acquisition Drambuie late last year to Porter Novelli, which already handles its Glenfiddich and Grants brands.
The pitch, which featured at least three other contending agencies, called for a broad range of services, including PR, content and experiential, with one source noting that the company was seeking a more "joined-up" approach to its global brand communication.
Splendid will aim to develop an integrated global Hendrick’s communications platform and run a creative press office to drive trial and advocacy. The team will also look to build a global communications strategy that reinforces Balvenie’s positioning as 'the most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky.'
"These are dream briefs for an agency and the Splendid Communications team demonstrated an affinity and impressive combination of creative ideas, strategic insight and smart thinking," said Willian Grant global brand communications manager David North.
"The briefs were made for us by client teams with whom we share a genuine passion and ambition," added Splendid CEO Alec Samways. "Both brands have such unique personalities – we’re as excited to explore the most unusual world of Hendrick’s as we are to learn and share the history and depth of The Balvenie."
The review followed the arrival of former Diageo executive Philip Gladman as William Grant CMO last year.
Last year, William Grant reported a 1% in pre-tax profits, even as turnover dropped by nearly 17%, after the company reduced distribution of third party brands to focus on its premium spirits portfolio. Turnover from premium brands grew by 9%.