West Indies rum group retenders UK contract

BARBADOS: The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers' Association is to put a contract for UK marcoms support out to tender, following an increase in campaign funds from the EU.

The Barbados-based body originally pitched the account 18 months ago (PRWeek, 22 July 2005), but a boost in EU funding has triggered a rethink.

The new tender is expected to be released early next year and will call for combined marketing and PR support, with potential fees of up to £500,000 a year.

The brief is to raise the profile of Caribbean rum brands in the UK. As well as well-known Caribbean brands such as Wray & Nephew and Mount Gay, smaller producers will be promoted.

In March, WIRSPA's then marketing director Christopher Wood is understood to have been on the verge of appointing London marcoms shop 23Red. However, WIRSPA's senior management has decided to overhaul the brief.

The association's chairman Patrick Mayers declined to comment on the process, citing ‘precise procedure' surrounding the manage­ment of European Development Funds.

Wood is believed to have left WIRSPA around three months ago, something Mayers refused to confirm. 23Red also declined to comment.

The association secured a €76m (£44m) grant from the European Development Fund in 2002. But WIRSPA refused to disclose the sizeof the recent increase to this grant.

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