NEW YORK: Rémy Cointreau USA selected The Morris & King Co. to handle PR for its largest brand, Rémy Martin USA, which produces cognacs. The company was selected in August based on its social media expertise and its knowledge of the luxury market, said George Rudenauer, VP of PR for Rémy Cointreau USA.
“I've seen many PR agencies… but they were extremely focused in terms of results,” he said. “A lot of agencies talk about new media and viral, but they created incredible case studies.”
The pitch was not competitive. Instead, Rudenauer, who encountered the agency during a previous pitch at a separate organization, approached the firm to work on a project basis through the end of the year. One project that the agency is already working on is promotion of the new Rémy Chill.
“We'll help create a social media campaign around the Chill to create on-the-ground buzz,” said Judith King, cofounder and partner of New York-based Morris & King. Leveraging its interactive and digital division, SeisMK, the agency plans significant blogger outreach, along with tastings and food pairings. It will also try to seek out a sophisticated, younger audience, she added.
Five people will work on the account, which King called “big” both in terms of size and reputation for the firm. Both parties declined to specify the budget.
Additional brands under the Rémy Martin label that the agency will work on include Rémy Martin VSOP, 1738 Accord Royal, and XO Excellence.
GCI Group, now part of Cohn & Wolfe, was Rémy Martin's AOR for four years. The relationship ended in December 2008, said Stephanie Marchesi, president, C&W New York. She declined to go into specifics as to why the relationship ended but said, “We're immensely proud of the work we did with them.”
Rudenauer joined the company in January 2009 after stints with Edelman and Tiffany & Co., among other organizations. Since then he has added three PR firms, including Morris & King, to aid its various brands. This past summer, Nike Communications came on board for Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, and Fox Greenberg Public Relations for Cointreau. All three are project work, rather than AOR. While Rudenauer said he prefers to work under an AOR or retainer with agencies, the economy has not allowed it do so. But he noted, “We're seeing some improvement” lately, so any one of those could be extended into AORs when budgets allow.
Rémy Martin USA also works with the Susan Magrino Agency as AOR on its Louis XIII Grande Champagne, and The Baddish Group as AOR on Mount Gay Rum. These relationships predate Rudenauer.
The agencies support New York-based Rudenauer's four person internal PR team. There is no corporate AOR, though Rudenauer noted that could be a possibility in the future.