Vodka distiller hires PR firm for US boost

ATLANTA: After more than a decade in the American market, Danish distiller Fris Skandia A/S signed its first public relations agency this month to help boost its case sales and market position. Vodka claims the top spot in the distilled-spirits category, accounting for 25% of all US case sales in 2001.

ATLANTA: After more than a decade in the American market, Danish distiller Fris Skandia A/S signed its first public relations agency this month to help boost its case sales and market position. Vodka claims the top spot in the distilled-spirits category, accounting for 25% of all US case sales in 2001.

According to company president Don Hazelwood, research proved that consumers liked the Danish vodka, but they didn't know how to pronounce the name, and so were hesitant to order it in bars. The company selected The Titan Network of Atlanta to initiate a rhyming campaign, "Say Fris, please," to educate consumers on brand-name pronunciation. The agency will also leverage the company's patented freeze-distilled process in which the impurities are frozen to aid their elimination, thus yielding a smoother product.

"We have the only brand that's made through a freeze-distilled process," said Hazelwood. "Media relations will let us talk to consumers one-to-one, and create a buzz."

Titan's Jackie Rosen said the agency is currently planning media relations targeting top men's and women's lifestyle magazines, as well as a series of product promotions in bars across the country.

"Our goal is to become the third-largest premium imported vodka in America," said Hazelwood. Titan's efforts are expected to move the company out of its current seventh-place ranking, and into direct competition with category toppers Stolichnaya and Absolut.

In the past two years, Fris Skandia has increased its case sales by 40%.

The top vodka brands only grew 10% and 19% in the same period.

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