Quebecor wins Absolut acct.

After years of unsuccessful wooing, Quebecor Media Sales has snared Absolut vodka for the pages of its magazines.Absolut, which is marketed in Canada by Toronto-based Sainsbury, has a strong reputation for creative art work and is considered a prize ad account...

After years of unsuccessful wooing, Quebecor Media Sales has snared Absolut vodka for the pages of its magazines.

Absolut, which is marketed in Canada by Toronto-based Sainsbury, has a strong reputation for creative art work and is considered a prize ad account within magazine circles.

However, in Quebec, Absolut has been marketed through outdoor-only advertising, until, in January, Sainsbury, which was considering a shift to a media plan that included magazines, got an offer it could not refuse.

Quebecor, which has made repeated overtures to Sainsbury over the years, made a winning presentation to Sainsbury’s Toronto ad agency, Robins Sharpe Associates.

It was a three-pronged media program comprising brand advertising, advertorial coverage and a title sponsorship opportunity on the opening night of Orchestre Metropolitain’s new season.

The magazine titles in Quebecor’s presentation are: Clin D’Oeil, a fashion and beauty publication; Sel & Poivre, which focusses on gourmet cooking and dining, and Decoration Chez-Soi, Quebecor’s magazine covering fine home decoration.

The media buy began with brand ads in the May issues of Clin D’Oeil and Chez-Soi.

Peggy Biggin, Absolut account director with Robins Sharpe, says it will pick up again this fall with ads in the October issue of Sel & Poivre and in the November issues of Clin D’Oeil and Chez-Soi.

The advertorials, to be supplied by Sainsbury, which is tailoring them to fit the respective readerships of the three magazines, will run in the December issues of all three titles.

Orchestre Metropolitain has recognized Absolut’s backing of opening night by giving Sainsbury 400 tickets to pass out to its clients and influential Montrealers.

Profits from the gala evening will go to a Montreal hospital.

Catherine Bridgeman, the Quebecor account manager who put the deal together, says the media package she sold to Sainsbury goes by the name Absolut Celebrates the Arts.

Bridgeman says she sought to create a program that fit Absolut’s brand profile.

Absolut is a premium vodka that has traditionally been aligned with the arts, cultural events, charities, fashion and design.

Absolut was introduced in English Canada in 1982. Quebec distribution began in 1985, starting with 26-ounce bottles.

In 1992, 40-oz. bottles were introduced to the market.

Luc Desroches, general manager of Sainsbury’s Quebec operations, says the company has historically conducted relatively limited brand advertising in Quebec because Absolut’s penetration of bars and restaurants had been minimal.

(Since bars and restaurants prefer 40-oz. bottles, they did not begin stocking Absolut until the 40-oz. bottle arrived.)

But Desroches says distribution is now strong across the province, so brand awareness advertising for the liquor can be expected to increase in coming years.