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President Bill Clinton Addresses 36th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar

March 23, 2012

The 36th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar was held yesterday at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Hosted by M. Shanken Communications chairman Marvin R. Shanken, the event featured eight presentations by top executives from inside and outside the drinks industry, and was highlighted by a speech from the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

One of the Seminar’s major themes was innovation, with Grand Marnier vice chairman Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and Stephen Rust, president of Diageo’s Catalyst business unit, discussing new opportunities and trends in both wine and spirits. Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) partner Alan Dreeben, meanwhile, expounded on a variety of innovative practices that have enhanced RNDC’s execution and its relationships with retailers and suppliers.

The speakers’ topics also covered China and other emerging markets. Pernod Ricard managing director Alexandre Ricard expounded on “East vs. West: Drinking Trends of Different Cultures,” and ASC Fine Wine CEO Don St. Pierre, Jr. presented a detailed analysis of China’s wine market that focused on the rising demand for imports and rapid premiumization of the country’s domestic segment.

Joseph Tripodi, executive vice president, chief marketing and commercial officer for The Coca-Cola Company, explored cutting edge social media- and consumer-driven marketing strategies which have helped the Coca-Cola brand remain globally relevant. Oettinger Davidoff Group president and CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, meanwhile, spoke on “The Audacity of Luxury Marketing,” a presentation that revealed how the luxury mindset has helped buoy the premium cigar category with a focus on authenticity, quality and exclusivity. Lastly, Michael Binstein, owner of Chicago-based Binny’s Beverage Depot, addressed “The Whisky Renaissance in America” and described the similarities between whisk(e)y and craft beer consumers, suggesting considerable growth potential for the burgeoning craft spirits category.

At the luncheon, Marvin R. Shanken made the surprise introduction of President Clinton, who then entered the room to a standing ovation. Clinton’s address focused on the humanitarian work of the William J. Clinton Foundation, including groundbreaking efforts to reduce the cost of and improve access to HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa, as well as initiatives in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The former President then participated in a lively Q&A segment with Shanken, fielding questions on the potential nuclear threat from Iran, his views on the 2012 presidential race and the issue of political polarization in the media. Clinton then exited the room to even more rousing applause than he received upon his introduction, bringing an end to the 36th Impact Seminar and leaving the audience anxious for next year’s Seminar—which will take place in New York on March 21, 2013.

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