New Jim Beam PR unit hires WSW for Hispanic effort

DEERFIELD, IL: Jim Beam Brands is spinning off its PR function into a separate department, and kicking off a new Hispanic marketing campaign with Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

DEERFIELD, IL: Jim Beam Brands is spinning off its PR function into a separate department, and kicking off a new Hispanic marketing campaign with Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

PR for the liquor maker traditionally had been part of its various brand teams or promotional efforts. But it recently promoted Stephanie Moritz from manager to director of PR. "We have an increased focus on PR," confirmed Moritz.

The increased emphasis won't mean any agency changes or new hiring at present, she said. Beam works with WSW's Minneapolis office; JSH&A, a suburban Chicago firm; and Dome Communications, a Chicago shop.

Internally, Moritz has two PR managers reporting to her. They will focus on brand PR, while Moritz will work on corporate PR issues.

Jim Beam's new Hispanic campaign represents the first time the company has focused on the US Hispanic population. WSW is handling media relations for the campaign, which includes advertising and promotional events.

The brand's website, jimbeam.com, also has a link on its front page taking the user through to a Spanish-language version of the site.

As far as future PR efforts, "the company's emphasis continues to be on the flagship brands, as well as on new products, Moritz said.

Its commitment to broaden its PR efforts comes from its new SVP of marketing, Tom Hernquist, who joined the distiller in February from Nabisco, Moritz said.

First started by early-American settler Jacob Beam in 1795, Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey has become the world's top-selling bourbon whiskey, and is still made today under the supervision of sixth- and seventh-generation Beam family members.

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