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News Briefs for October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

•Diageo will be presenting sponsor for two ESPN television segments—“Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption” and their corresponding programs on Spanish-language ESPN Deportes—beginning this month through September 2012, reports AdAge. The sponsorship will be highlighted on the programs as “Happy Hour.” Diageo will use the television time to spotlight its products, starting with Guinness Black Lager on ESPN and Captain Morgan Rum on Deportes. ESPN will also create a place on its website to feature clips from the two programs, also sponsored by Diageo. The company already sponsored “Pardon the Interruption” before it decided to make itself more noticeable on air. AdAge reports that Diageo spent around $21.7 million on ESPN’s platforms in 2010.

•Southern Wine & Spirits of America has appointed John Wittig as executive vice president-general manager of South Florida. The appointment is effective January 1, 2012 and Wittig will report directly to Steve Power, executive vice president-general manager at SWS of Florida. Wittig served most recently as executive vice president-general manager at SWS of Nevada. Previous to that role, he was division manager for Brown-Forman and in sales management roles at Seagram Americas. Concurrently, Barry Zeidwig will be promoted from general manager at SWS of North Florida to executive vice president-general manager.

•Pernod Ricard has released a television advertising campaign for its Jameson Irish whiskey brand. Called “Hawk of Achill,” the ads are the brand’s latest version of the “Legendary Tales of John Jameson” campaign. The TV campaign will be backed with outdoor advertisements, featuring oil paintings by artists from around the world, and a digital initiative. Precise media expenditures weren’t disclosed.

•Acker Merrall & Condit has announced the inventory for a trio of upcoming wine auctions, to be held October 22, 29 and November 4-5 in Chicago, New York and Hong Kong, respectively. With a total estimated value of $20 million, the three auctions will feature more than 3000 lots of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, including a private collection from leading Burgundy collector Don Stott, to be offered at the New York and Hong Kong sales. Additional top lots include 6-magnums of 1990 La Tache valued at $50,000-$70,000 (to be sold in Chicago), a 3-bottle lot of 1990 Romanée Conti estimated to be worth $35,000-$50,000 (New York) and a case of 1990 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux valued at $50,000-$70,000 (Hong Kong).

•Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is launching Faithfull Ale—a Belgian-style, fruit-forward golden ale—into its U.S. markets this month. Created in celebration of Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary as a band and their debut album, Ten, the 7%-abv offering will be available in 750-ml. bottles and on draft. Concurrently, Dogfish Head will also be re-releasing two additional collaborations with Sony Legacy, including the Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew and the Robert Johnson tribute Hellhound On My Ale.

•Groupon and other daily deal websites experienced a slump in visitor traffic in August, according to a report from Kantar Media. While Groupon remains the leading daily deal site in the U.S., visitors to the site slid nearly 29% to 21.9 million from July to August. Groupon’s visitor traffic, however, was still 165% higher than the traffic in August of last year. Meanwhile, traffic for rival daily deal site LivingSocial was also down, falling 4.3% to 10.2 million visitors—still a 96% increase from the year earlier. Kantar attributed the declines to “deal fatigue,” which occurs when consumers become overwhelmed by an influx of offers, but also noted that mobile phone visits—which provide an increasing source of daily deal traffic—were not tracked in the report.

•Apple has partnered with review website Yelp for the iPhone 4S’s “virtual personal assistant” tool called Siri. The new voice-controlled app has a restaurant-searching feature that allows it to search the Yelp website to find the right restaurant match for the user based on his or her requests, including taste, budget and location. Siri’s use of Yelp is under fire from some who don’t find Yelp’s restaurant reviews to be reliable enough.

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