Diageo the cream of the crop

As the advertising market slows, Diageo is doing its bit by launching a £25m campaign to flog Baileys...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Drinks giant Diageo will defy the downturn (and try saying that after a few pints of Guinness) to launch a £25m global marketing campaign for Baileys, the cream liqueur beloved of grannies and part-time drinkers everywhere. The campaign, £4m of which will be spent in the UK, will be a welcome boost to an industry that is traditionally one of the first (and most serious) casualties of an economic slowdown. And it might even persuade the world that that crème de menthe-flavoured Baileys is the answer to our credit crunch woes…

The campaign is based around the slogan ‘listen to your lips’ and will apparently feature various shots of women’s lips (possibly with the distinctive Baileys ‘moustache’ – we’re not sure). This £25m will be spent across TV, print, digital and outdoor – so although the big winners will be JWT, the agency behind the ads, it’s likely to have a trickle-down effect to lots of other companies too. And at a time when many big advertisers are slashing their spending, that will be welcome news.

Baileys is already one of Diageo’s most successful drinks – it sells 7m cases a year across 160 countries, and is the second biggest-selling spirit in the global travel retail market (which we think is a posh word for ‘duty free’). Indeed, Diageo reckons it has 190m ‘adorers and adopters’ worldwide, whatever that means. But it’s currently plotting to expand its reach even further: this year it’s introducing three new flavours - Crème Caramel, Mint and Coffee – as it tries to ‘broaden the usage and frequency of the Baileys brand’ (that’s marketing-speak for ‘make us drink more of the stuff’). With Christmas fast approaching - surely a boom time for Baileys, since it's the only time lots of people buy it - it wants to get ahead of the curve.

Cutting advertising budgets in a downturn isn’t necessarily a sensible idea: as your competitors retrench and prices fall, this can be a great time to get out there and grab market share. Diageo is clearly utilising its financial strength – in September it reported a 9% jump in annual profits to £2.2bn – to do this, and it could end up paying dividends. After all, with all the bad news floating around at the moment, most of us are going to need to need the odd drink to drown our sorrows...

In today's bulletin:

RBS takes another hit ahead of £20bn cash call
No news is good news for Marks & Spencer
MT's Little Ray of Sunshine: Diageo the cream of the crop
Reckitt Benckiser distances itself from Tesco row
Jobs Trump the environment 

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