With tequila sales continuing to climb in the US and the category gaining steady market share (according to Beverage Marketing Corporation tequila represented 5.6 percent of the spirits segment in 2006 compared to 4.9 percent in 2000) the $15 million initiative from Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. and Hornitos Tequila comes with good timing.
"The Fine Line of Tequila," which emphasizes the exhilaration that comes from having two forces, seemingly at odds, combined to deliver the perfect combination, is linked to the fact that Hornitos delivers the tequila edge with a smoothness not expected from tequila, notes the company.
"This re-launch, coupled with our targeted advertising and unique and intriguing 'Fine Line' campaign, represents a defining milestone for Hornitos," says Sheryl Rosenberger, senior brand manger, Sauza, the parent company of Hornitos Tequila.
The campaign was developed to surround the consumer in an experiential way, explains the company, and includes online, print, radio and out of home advertising, new packaging, new variants—Hornitos Plata and Hornitos Añejo—new POS materials and "Fine Line" launch parties in key cities.
The phrase "fine line" is the core component of the campaign transcending through each and every one of its elements. The bottle's redesign, spearheaded by Chicago-based Akimbo, for example, takes key elements from the original 1950 Hornitos bottle, but adds the "Fine Line" focus by showcasing its label in the shape of a large agave leaf in the iconic Hornitos green color juxtaposed with "Hornitos" written in a bold red on the pentagonal-shaped bottle.
The bottle's image is reinforced in the consumer print ads, which began appearing last month in magazines like GQ, Maxim, Blender and Playboy. In the ads, the bottle appears to be teetering the fine line between "heaven" and “hell” where a green line divides the bottle into a devil on one side and an angel on the other.
Advertising in spirit trade books began in August, relays the company. Publicis Dallas, along with input from other offices, led the creative design for all advertising, POS and sales tools.
Though the ads are playful and make a bold statement, a good portion of the campaign is focused on online advertising—38 percent to be exact. Hornitos is running a mix of high impact rich media banner ad units as well as home page takeovers, says the company, and is partnering with key publisher sites to create custom branded entertainment programs with Maxim, UGO, Playboy, Pandora and Break.com. New York-based Zenithmedia, along with sister agency Moxie Interactive out of Atlanta, coordinated online, print and radio media.
Other initiatives include equipping its retailers with a variety of point-of-sale items including a bilingual consumer tasting guide, coasters, table tents, posters, case cards, shelf talker, T-shirts, pitchers and key chains. And for its sales force, the company released a DVD, a glassware tray, a launch party guide and educational brochures to be used as sales tools.
Since the tequila industry is changing, as are consumers’ perception of the spirit, Hornitos has plans to take advantage of the current state of the category with its "sip, shoot and savor strategy." The strategy is in direct response to an evolving tequila category and consumer demand, explains the company, and creates an opportunity to educate consumers about Hornitos variants and how they should be consumed. For example, Hornitos Plata is versatile enough for mixed drinks, Hornitos Reposado can be poured as a shot while Hornitos Añejo is intended for a savory experience.
"Our team has invested significant resources behind both this brand and this campaign and we are proud and excited to continue playing a leading role in the tequila category's evolution and growth," says Rosenberg. The company reports a 11 percent growth in sales in 2007 compared to last year for the 12-month period ending in May 2007.
"We are confident that the comprehensive elements of our 'Fine Line' campaign will lead to increased visibility and consumer engagement for Hornitos, especially as consumers continue to trade up from the standard tequila segment," notes Rosenberger.