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Facing Intense Competition, Proximo’s Three Olives Makes $20 Million Ad Play

January 17, 2013

Proximo Spirits is aiming to revitalize its Three Olives vodka brand with a $20 million ad campaign centered around British actor Clive Owen. The new campaign represents a huge step up for Proximo, which says it spent roughly $7 million on Three Olives’ advertising in 2012. Only two spirits brands spent more than $20 million in media advertising in 2011, according to Kantar Media and Impact Databank—Absolut vodka and Patrón Tequila.

The campaign, shot in London by renowned photographer Norman Jean Roy and created by the Brooklyn-based Dead As We Know It ad agency, features atmospheric images of Owen at various locations throughout London, reflecting Three Olives’ U.K. origins. Print, out-of-home and digital ads will begin running this month.

For much of the past decade, Three Olives (roughly $19 a 750-ml.) was one of the best-performing brands in the U.S. spirits market, winning six consecutive Impact “Hot Brand” awards from 2005-2010. However, the brand’s growth slowed in recent years, as the exotic flavor range that set it apart from the competition was increasingly imitated by rivals. Ironically, the vodka brand that arguably best leveraged the flavor trend—Pinnacle—was a Three Olives portfoliomate at White Rock Distilleries, before Proximo acquired Three Olives from White Rock in 2007 (Pinnacle was subsequently purchased by Beam Inc. in 2012).

In 2011, after years of double-digit advances, Three Olives’ growth slowed to 8.8%. Last year, it rose by just 3.5%, to approximately 1.53 million cases. Still, Three Olives’ tropical-flavored Loopy, launched last year, has given the brand a boost with its fast start. Proximo is hoping its new ad campaign can do the same.


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