Bass is considering the appointment of a PR company to run a ‘cutting
edge’ campaign for its best selling ‘alcopop’ Hooper’s Hooch.
Brand PR manager Kerry Teacle has approached several consumer PR outfits
in the last few weeks to discuss a programme.
The drink, which has a 70 per cent share of the rapidly growing pounds
250 million alcopop market, has a new senior brand manager, Kevin
Wallace, who started last month.
Assistant brand PR manager Sam Ward denied the search for an agency was
sparked by increased competition in the sector.
‘The brands people are happy with Hooch’s performance,’ she said. ‘This
is something we have always planned on doing long term.’
Hooch, the UK’s first alcoholic lemonade, was launched in June last year
using just public relations.
The brewer’s corporate communications staff spent the first four months
dealing with a barrage of accusations from drinks watchdogs over Hooch’s
But its brands PR team executed a subtle ‘seeding’ campaign, designed to
target the youth market, and sales figures rose to around 2.5 million
bottles a week.
It also enlisted the help of Paragon Communications to run three short-
term media relations projects for the brand including the launch of
blackcurrant and orange flavours.
‘Hooch did not need that much PR as it generated its own media
coverage,’ said Ward on the brand’s origins. ‘We have done reactive work
but nothing really proactive.’
The recent media furore over Carlsberg-Tetley’s now defunct alcopop
Thickhead illustrates the increased pressures brewers now face in
promoting alcoholic carbonates.
Carlsberg-Tetley’s PR agency Mark Borkowski was forced to abort its
original campaign, after criticism from The Portman Group, the drink
industry’s self regulation body, that the product was aimed at an under-
Last month the Portman Group ruled that Bass should remove the fruit
cartoon character from its Hooch bottles.
* Bass Brewers is also poised to hire an agency to handle consumer PR
for its Draught Bass, Worthingtons and Caffrey’s ale. It has already
appointed Barkers PR of Scotland to manage trade PR for all three