Bollinger signs agency to reclaim Ab Fab status

Iconic champagne brand Bollinger has hired Nelson Bostock as its first PR agency in three years to build on Ab Fab-inspired fame and justify its premium pricing.

'For such a premium and aspirational brand as Bollinger not to have proper PR support was a situation that needed to be rectified,' said Jonathan Stevens, champagne brands controller at Bollinger distributor Mentzendorff.

He said it had hitherto relied on Bollinger's wide recognition and recommendations from within the wine trade.

But with prices ranging from £32 to £55 a bottle, consumers needed to understand the attributes to justify its relatively high price tag, he added.

'People know of Bollinger but not necessarily why it commands its premium price,' said Stevens.

Bollinger enjoyed a high profile during the 1990s as 'Bollie'-loving characters Eddie and Patsy drank their way through BBC TV series Absolutely Fabulous.

'Ab Fab was a great thing for recognition but didn't do a tremendous job for communicating Bollinger's value. Bollinger is well known - now we've got to make sure it's understood,' said Nelson joint MD Martin Bostock.

PR activity will begin with a focus on the attributes of its wines, by explaining why Bollinger tastes different from rival champagne producers.

It will then turn to brand-building PR by explaining the traditional approach to production taken by Bollinger - one of the few family businesses left in the Champagne region and the only one to employ its own cooper.

Nelson Bostock will also look to raise the profile of the brand's sponsorships, including the English National Opera and England Rugby, which Stevens said have not been properly publicised until now.

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