Cdn. Club repositions

Faced with an indifferent market, Canadian Club whisky and Canadian Club Classic have been repositioned to boost sales in Ontario and at the same time offer buyers a small break on price.Michael Freeman, senior product manager at Corby Distilleries, which markets...

Faced with an indifferent market, Canadian Club whisky and Canadian Club Classic have been repositioned to boost sales in Ontario and at the same time offer buyers a small break on price.

Michael Freeman, senior product manager at Corby Distilleries, which markets the two brands, says Classic’s bottle has been redesigned to reflect more closely its affiliation with Canadian Club and to make the whisky ‘more upscale, more premium.’

At the same time, says Freeman, the price of both brands’ 750-millilitre bottles has been lowered by almost a dollar in Ontario.

He says he does not believe the lower price will harm the reputation of either brand.

The redesigned bottle has a fresh neckwrap and cleaner lettering against a black background and an embossed gold crest.

According to Joe Delaney, director of North American business development for Hiram Walker & Sons, which makes the whisky, the company repackaged Classic to make it look more like Canadian Club and tap into that brand’s strong consumer loyalty.

Classic’s main superpremium competitor is Crown Royal.

Product sold in Ontario accounts for 57% of Canadian Club’s national sales and 58% of Classic’s national sales.

Classic is aged 12 years before it is sold and Canadian Club is aged six years. Both whiskies are blends.

According to the Association of Canadian Distillers, Canadian whisky’s share of the liquor market has gone down 2.1% since 1988.

In 1992, 4.04 million nine-litre cases of Canadian whisky were sold, compared with 4.31 million cases sold in 1991. The nine-litre case holds 12 750-mL bottles.

In the last 16 years, says the association, case sales of all liquor in Ontario have sunk by 37%.

Freeman says Corby is using a newspaper campaign to support its repositioning. He says 40 newspapers in Ontario will run ads in the first half of summer.

The campaign, says Freeman, comes from cme/khbb in Minneapolis, Canadian Club’s international agency of record.

The theme of the campaign is ‘Still Pure Gold. Just More Affordable.’