William Grant shifts premium brands to Magrino

William Grant & Sons has expanded its relationship with Susan Magrino Agency, while hiring Exposure to handle comms for six of its brands.

NEW YORK: Spirits company William Grant & Sons has expanded its relationship with Susan Magrino Agency to manage PR for its luxury lifestyle brands and corporate communications efforts, while hiring Exposure to handle comms for six other brands.

After SMA's work representing the company's Stolichnaya Premium Vodka, Elit by Stolichnaya, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Milagro Tequila, Bols, and Lillet brands, William Grant decided to assign all of its premium brands to the firm. The luxury spirits include Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Grant's, Hendrick's Gin, and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, said James Curich, PR director at William Grant & Sons.

William Grant & Sons also awarded SMA its corporate communications work.

A team of 10 staffers is working on the 10 brands, said Susan Magrino, CEO and founder of the eponymous firm.

She added that the agency's main objective is to showcase the brands in the lifestyle arena across an array of categories, rather than just the wine and spirits sector, so that they engage a variety of media and audiences.  

The agency began working with William Grant in 2010 on the Stolichnaya Premium Vodka and Elit by Stolichnaya lines.

“We view our clients as partners,” she said. “And the best clients are existing clients that you can grow with.”

William Grant & Sons has shifted its account for Sailor Jerry Rum, previously handled by Susan Magrino, to Exposure, which was brought on as the brand's PR agency partner after a competitive review, Curich added.

In addition to Sailor Jerry, Exposure will manage PR for Reyka Vodka, Monkey Shoulder, Gibson's Finest, Hudson Whiskey, and Montelobos.

The other brands were previously handled by Maloney & Fox, which was folded into Waggener Edstrom following the departure of co-founders and co-CEOs Brian Maloney and Margie Fox at the beginning of the year.

Curich said the portfolio of brands that Exposure has taken on “require a different [PR] approach” that is more focused on guerilla tactics and leveraging the right communities and fan bases.

The RFP started out with six agencies and was narrowed down to three in the final round that Exposure eventually won. Curich declined to name the other firms in the review or disclose budget information on the account.

One of the goals of bringing on Exposure is to amplify the brands and create relevant content that will target consumers, explained Curich.

Exposure representatives were not immediately available for comment. 

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