CHICAGO: Heineken USA’s Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders brand has brought on Current as its PR AOR after a review.
Current will develop and execute strategic communications programs for Strongbow’s portfolio of hard ciders, as well as work on new products and brand campaigns in 2017. The firm is Strongbow’s only PR agency in the U.S., and it will collaborate with the brand’s global agency partners, such as 360i, which was recently brought on as digital AOR.
Current is focused on building brand awareness, developing influencer partnerships, launching products and multi-month campaigns, and sharing Strongbow with a mass audience to inspire and acquire new fans, said Virginia Devlin, Current founder and president. It is also helping the brand differentiate itself in a crowded beverage category.
"It is fall harvest season and a time of year when people look to drink hard apple ciders like Strongbow," said Devlin. "So this year, we are making sure we are talking to influencers about how it is a great beverage choice for this time of year and beyond."
Current is helping Strongbow to do that by working on mixology recipes and food pairings, tapping into culinary trends, and showcasing where hard cider is relevant, Devlin explained.
She said she could not elaborate on plans for next year, but noted the firm is taking on a "leadership position" on creative concept development for the brand’s campaigns for 2017.
A team of five staffers under the leadership of SVP Aaryn Enos will handle the account from Current’s Chicago office.
A Strongbow rep was not immediately available for comment. Budget information was not disclosed.
"This is an exciting win and great addition to our culinary practice," said Devlin. "We have a strong and growing food and beverage portfolio of clients."
Edelman was selected as Strongbow’s AOR in 2013. A rep from the agency was not available for comment.
Strongbow has been around for 125 years, offering a range of gluten-free, non-GMO hard ciders made from apples and other natural flavors. The drinks are produced in and imported from the U.K. and Belgium.