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News Briefs For May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

• Ketel One vodka is extending its “Gentlemen, this is vodka” campaign with three new TV spots as part of a $9 million U.S. spend on the brand from now through September. Created by Grey Worldwide and directed by Academy Award nominee David O. Russell (The Fighter), the new ads are launching today on channels including ESPN, Comedy Central and Discovery Channel. Ketel’s summer campaign also includes out-of-home advertising in major metro areas like New York, Houston and Cleveland and digital placements on sites like Hulu and CNN.com.

• Brown-Forman is making “minor refinements” to its Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey packaging, accentuating the bottle’s square shoulders and simplifying the front and side labels to remove gold medals and other information that made the label “more cluttered than it was under Mr. Jack’s watch,” according to Brown-Forman. Jack’s new bottle will ship this month and be on most store shelves by July.

• The Benihana restaurant chain has taken itself off the selling block and announced a proposal to convert all its stock into one common class and jettison its current poison pill plan. The Miami-based chain operates 96 restaurants nationwide, including 63 Benihana restaurants, eight Haru sushi restaurants, and 25 RA Sushi restaurants. In addition, 20 franchised Benihana restaurants are operating in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Benihana’s sales slumped in recent years but appear to be rebounding, with company-wide sales up 5.8% to $26.7 million in the four weeks through April 24.

• Heineken’s Amstel Light has unveiled a new U.S. campaign under the Dutch-inspired tagline “The Bier Drinker’s Light.” Featuring Amstel brewers, the campaign emphasizes the brand’s European heritage and reputation for craftsmanship. Launching this month, the multi-platform effort includes radio and out-of-home in key markets, as well as national print, digital and social networking. Heineken USA recently named New York’s Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) as the advertising agency of record for the Heineken brand, including Heineken Lager and Heineken Light.

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