Absolut Vodka plans pitch as part of comms revamp

A consumer PR pitch is on the cards for premium drinks brand Absolut Vodka.

Maxxium UK – the sales and marketing firm behind the Swedish brand – plans to stage pitches within the next fortnight as part of a PR strategy overhaul for Absolut.

PRWeek understands two of the five agencies Maxxium representatives met in London earlier this month – The Red Consultancy and creative comms firm TheFishCanSing – are likely to enter a head-to-head pitch for the business.

It is understood long-term incumbent Henry’s House has declined to pitch, as have Freud Communications and Consolidated Communications.

Maxxium UK marketing director Huw Pennell confirmed a PR review was underway, saying it had been triggered as ‘part of a standard business review that takes place every two or three years’.

Pennell, who said the pitch-list was ‘closed’ and that he was not ‘canvassing for agencies to pitch’, declined to comment on the agencies involved, but sought to stress he was ‘happy’ with Henry’s House, which has promoted the brand for almost five years.

Pennell is co-ordinating the pitch process alongside Absolut senior marketing manager Eileen Livingston and brand manager Shona Sutherland.

Pennell declined to comment on industry speculation that fees for the remit are substantially less than Absolut’s existing annual retainer, nor would he reveal to what extent the remit might differ from the event-focused consumer PR for which the brand has forged a reputation.

Henry’s House will continue to promote the brand until the end of this year, with work currently focused on PR surrounding next month’s launch of Absolut’s Vanilia variant.

Last year the agency promoted a bespoke photo exhibition at the Barbican, titled ‘Absolut Parr’, featuring work by celebrated photographer Martin Parr.

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