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Default Diageo Takes Zwack At Jägermeister

New Products: Growth-Hungary Diageo Takes Zwack At Jägermeister
Company imports authentic challenger brand to take on German spirit.
March 05, 2007
By Kenneth Hein

After more than 200 years, Zwack, the national shot of Hungary, has
finally found its way to the U.S. as Diageo's would-be Jägermeister

Diageo hopes the super-premium liqueur distilled from more than 40
natural herbs and spices will pose one of the first real threats to
Jägermeister, which is projected to become a top-10 spirits brand this
year. It is building on the 2.9 million cases it sold last year, per
Impact, New York.

To date, the "high energy" shot hailing from Germany has been a
category unto itself. However as Diageo continues to roll out Zwack,
that may change. "There certainly is plenty of room in the space. It's
not like vodka where it is overcrowded," said Piers Fawkes, trend
analyst for PSFK, New York. "People are always up for something new
and interesting."

Zwack isn't exactly new. The Zwack family brewed up its secret recipe
in 1790. 88 years before Jägermeister's introduction. Making Zwack
involves a complicated process including oak aging for six months to
which only the women in the Zwack family are privy.

"My mother or myself has to be there when the herbs are being mixed to
make sure the secrecy remains," said Izabella Zwack, global brand
ambassador based in Budapest.

Will the process slow down production should the drink catch on
nationally in the U.S. (it is currently in New York and Ohio)? Zwack
said: "We survived two world wars and the Nazis; we'll survive a very
aggressive sales forecast."

Sidney Frank Importing, which imports the Jägermeister brand, declined
comment. Jägermeister will continue marketing activities around music
(it will be at Ozzfest and other festivals with JVC Mobile
Entertainment) and its sponsorship of the National Hot Rod Assn.

To promote the brand, Zwack is taking a comedic approach using the
Borat-esque tagline, "Zwack is most good," which is the exact
translation from the existing Hungarian tagline. Outdoor ads read:
"Synchronized embroiderers say Zwack is most good. Be most good. Be
safe when you drink."

Other Zwack ads feature testimonials from salami archers and champions
of mustachery. Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, handles.

Much like the Jägerettes, on-premise activities starring attractive
Zwomen will support. The Zwackster, a branded vintage European car,
will hit launch cities. And an online viral campaign will launch in
the next six months showing faux clips from Zwack's history. Zwack
retails for $22.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Tom Herbst, director of innovation for Diageo, said the authenticity
of the brand has made his job easier. "Zwack is a marketer's dream.
You sit around conference room tables late at night trying to come up
with cool bottles and cool names; with Zwack it's already been done.
It's got a classic round bottle design and a name we couldn't make up
if we tried."

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