NEWS: Bass plans to put new fizz into Hooch brand

Bass is considering the appointment of a PR company to run a ‘cutting edge’ campaign for its best selling ‘alcopop’ Hooper’s Hooch.

Bass is considering the appointment of a PR company to run a ‘cutting

edge’ campaign for its best selling ‘alcopop’ Hooper’s Hooch.



Brand PR manager Kerry Teacle has approached several consumer PR outfits

in the last few weeks to discuss a programme.



The drink, which has a 70 per cent share of the rapidly growing pounds

250 million alcopop market, has a new senior brand manager, Kevin

Wallace, who started last month.



Assistant brand PR manager Sam Ward denied the search for an agency was

sparked by increased competition in the sector.



‘The brands people are happy with Hooch’s performance,’ she said. ‘This

is something we have always planned on doing long term.’



Hooch, the UK’s first alcoholic lemonade, was launched in June last year

using just public relations.



The brewer’s corporate communications staff spent the first four months

dealing with a barrage of accusations from drinks watchdogs over Hooch’s

under-age appeal.



But its brands PR team executed a subtle ‘seeding’ campaign, designed to

target the youth market, and sales figures rose to around 2.5 million

bottles a week.



It also enlisted the help of Paragon Communications to run three short-

term media relations projects for the brand including the launch of

blackcurrant and orange flavours.



‘Hooch did not need that much PR as it generated its own media

coverage,’ said Ward on the brand’s origins. ‘We have done reactive work

but nothing really proactive.’



The recent media furore over Carlsberg-Tetley’s now defunct alcopop

Thickhead illustrates the increased pressures brewers now face in

promoting alcoholic carbonates.



Carlsberg-Tetley’s PR agency Mark Borkowski was forced to abort its

original campaign, after criticism from The Portman Group, the drink

industry’s self regulation body, that the product was aimed at an under-

18 consumer.



Last month the Portman Group ruled that Bass should remove the fruit

cartoon character from its Hooch bottles.



* Bass Brewers is also poised to hire an agency to handle consumer PR

for its Draught Bass, Worthingtons and Caffrey’s ale. It has already

appointed Barkers PR of Scotland to manage trade PR for all three

products.



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