Diageo is lavishing £250m on a global makeover for Smirnoff. Launched earlier this year by former Slice director Alec Samways, Splendid will handle consumer PR activity to promote the UK relaunch of the flagship Smirnoff Red brand in April.
The product will be packaged in a new, sleeker bottle (PRWeek, 24 October).
Samways will lead an account team alongside Splendid PR director Kathryn Pringle.
Diageo has also drafted in Borkowski PR, which promotes its Pimm’s brand (PRWeek, 30 April), to promote its ready-to-drink brand Smirnoff Ice. Borkowski and Splendid replace Smirnoff incumbent Countrywide Porter Novelli. Both agencies will report to Diageo senior brand PR manager Clare Fleerackers, who said both consultancies had won three-way competitive pitches.
Fleerackers said Splendid had been added to Diageo’s ‘preferred [PR] supplier list’, a roster that was initially drawn up in February, which is now eight-strong (PRWeek, 28 February).
In a separate development, Sputnik Vodka, a potential challenger to Smirnoff Red, has hired its first PR agency – Weber Shandwick’s youth PR arm, SLAM – to handle consumer and trade PR.
The brand, distributed in the UK by Russian Vodka House, has had £1m earmarked for UK marketing, according to RVH director Lenny Musatov.
SLAM, which has bagged PR fees of £50,000 for an initial December project, won a pitch against Cow Communications, Union PR and C Coms pr to secure the remit.
The agency, which will target 18-to 25-year-olds and bar managers, has already organised a photo-shoot featuring a Russian model brandishing a deactivated AK47.