Dave led communications on the Campari brand for 12 years, as well as served as the brand's marketing manager for three. Under his leadership, he gave the brand a singular focus - the Negroni cocktail. Dave designed and managed Negroni Week - the largest charitable giving program in the history of the worldwide spirits industry. The program received multiple awards including three Campaign of the Year recognitions from the Public Relations Society of America. Through concentrated media relations, social media, bartender relations, influencer relations and traditional advertising, the Negroni joined the Manhattan and Old Fashioned in the eschelon of classic cocktails.
During his tenure as marketing manager for Campari, brand sales doubled, reaching 100,000 cases in the US for the first time.
The established goal for introducing the U.S. to the Aperol Spritz was to make it the most photographed cocktail on Instagram. Dave led the media relations, influencer relations, events and social media strategy for the Aperol Spritz invasion of America. Detailed strategies down to what time of day an event should be held (only during peak times when the sun can hit the cocktail just right) or how many spritzes should be in an Instagram post (three gets the most engagement), led to the Aperol Spritz being seen everywhere. When the New York Times took a swipe at it, after six consecutive positive stories, Dave managed the crisis communications and rallied spritz lovers like the Jonas Brothers, Martha Stewart and pretty much everyone on the Internet to Aperol's defense.
In 2018, the Aperol Spritz was indeed the most photographed cocktail on Instagram driving sales nationwide and making the cocktail ubiquitous at every outdoor patio across the U.S
In addition to established brands, Dave also has vast experience bringing new brands to market. Blue Run Spirits was started by five founders with little to no spirits experience in 2020. Dave worked cooperatively with executives to define the identity for Blue Run’s line of luxury whiskies, while also helping them better understand the spirits retailer and distributor ecosystem. He personally introduced the brand and the team to the whiskey community of reviewers, editors and aficionados, as well as other industry leaders and personalities. Dave set the communications strategy and managed media relations for seven product launches in just a year.
Since launching in the middle of the pandemic, Blue Run is now one of the most-buzzed-about whiskey brands in the U.S., selling out new products in mere minutes and earning top honors at spirits competitions. Blue Run was sold to Molson Coors in 2023.
When Campari Group purchased Wild Turkey in 2009, the iconic whiskey brand was in a state of neglect requiring a top to bottom makeover and repositioning. Dave led the communications team to devise a new image for Wild Turkey, with a particular focus on Bourbon Hall of Fame father/son master distillers, Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Coverage for the duo followed in Time Magazine, the New York Times, People Magazine and many more media outlets. Dave also managed communications and the awards program for all of Wild Turkey’s product launches, including luxury line extension Master’s Keep.
Dave led the communications for the brand’s partnership with Matthew McConaughey, working to build credibility for the Oscar-winning actor in the whiskey community, as well as building goodwill for Wild Turkey, the pinnacle of which may have been when Matthew delivered 4,500 turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving as part of a concentrated publicity and community outreach program.
After leading the Sega communications team for four years, Dave was tapped by Sony just four months before the launch of PlayStation 3 to build and execute the corporate and brand communications strategy for the most important product rollout in the company’s history. Managing a 17 person team and a budget of $14 million, Dave worked to break down barriers at the notoriously siloed Sony division, reaching across the aisle to the motion pictures, music, television, and electronics departments to leverage their unique strengths to support the launch. Spokespeople from each division, including now Sony CEO Kaz Harai, were trained and utilized to provide media and analysts with a holistic view of the importance of the PlayStation 3 to the entertainment industry. Product supply issues, hardware problems, and other crisis situations were dealt with head on, as Dave initiated the first public-facing executive blog in Sony history to take back control of the news cycle.
Upon launch, his team executed elaborate rollout events across the country, including the Los Angeles event which Buzzfeed recently called “The Most 2000s Event That Ever Happened.” Media relations tasks forces covering hardware, first-party software, third-party software, and online gaming were developed to broaden reach into niche verticals and increase blogger story generation. In spite of the challenges the system faced, media impressions generated for the year totaled more than 2 billion and Blu-ray became the defacto standard for high-resolution DVD.