DEERFIELD, IL: Jim Beam Brands has hired Ketchum to handle PR for its Jim Beam brand and for a new product, Starbucks-branded Coffee Liqueur.
Beam had worked with the Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick in the past, but could not use that agency for its new Starbucks product because of an account conflict (Weber represents Dunkin' Donuts), explained Aaron Brost, senior PR manager with Beam.
It hired Ketchum for that product earlier this year based on recommendations from Starbucks, which works with the agency, and Absolut, a vodka brand with which Beam has a distribution agreement. "They came recommended by two trusted partners," Brost said.
Ketchum's initial work on the Starbucks product impressed Beam, so it assigned the Beam brand to the agency as well.
Ketchum's Chicago office has put six people on the account initially. Bob Kopach, SVP and leader of Ketchum's Chicago brand and food-marketing practice, is heading the team along with Pamela Rocco, a Ketchum VP in Chicago. While Brost wouldn't disclose planned PR spending for the Beam brand, given the staffing levels involved, the account is likely to produce annual fees in the mid-six-figure range for Ketchum.
PR planning has begun for next year, during which Beam expects to turn out its 10 millionth barrel of bourbon. PR activities will tie in with that milestone event, Brost said
Beam will still work with JSH&A, a suburban Chicago firm, on its super-premium portfolio of brands, which includes Knob Creek bourbon, Vox vodka, and El Tesoro tequila.