Diageo launches massive summer campaign

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Drinks giant Diageo says that its latest shopper insight shows that the first drink of a traveller's holiday 'is a pivotal moment' and with the summer holidays approaching it plans to unveil a coordinated promotion

in Europe, The Americas, the Middle East and Asia which is designed specifically to engage shoppers in-store and 'transport them instantly to that evocative moment'.

In a conference call today, Diageo Global Travel & Middle East Managing Director, Phil Humphreys said that this is not just another summer campaign, but it is 'much bigger than that'.

He also added that it is a result of listening to the company's customers and especially considering that the travel retail channel has continued to face increasing challenges in just the last few weeks.

He described the level of investment being put into this promotion as the highest that Diageo has ever spent in the channel and this is without the considerable earlier investment on the research platform related to the customer behavioural insights.

Meanwhile, in a formal statement today, the company said that this is also a timely initiative, considering the current economic climate and the continuing threat of decreasing passenger levels. Its new summer campaign ?Get the summer spirit?, is aimed at driving footfall, converting passengers into customers and raising the average transaction value by capitalising on the aforementioned opportunity that it believes has been previously untapped in travel retail.

Diageo says that the summer holiday season usually delivers a surge in traffic of around 25% above the norm and it believes that this is a good opportunity to capitalise on the holiday mindset when consumers are more inclined to treat themselves. But interestingly, Diageo says that its most recent qualitative research indicates that 'recession-hit shoppers' are more likely to treat and experiment with trusted well-known brands.

It says that it perceives a natural relationship between its spirits, summer and sharing a drink with friends and family, and believes its known, trusted portfolio of brands – presented in an exciting value offer – can deliver 'a summer harvest of sales growth' for retailers.

By emphasising the everyday relevance of the brands to consumers, the summer campaign aims to develop two key motivators to purchase: consumption while away on their trip and, secondly, purchasing on their return journey to extend that holiday feeling back at home. Diageo is driving both motivators by educating customers at the point of purchase with a range of simple, but appealing recipes for cocktails and long drinks to equip shoppers with the know-how to mix their own, thus driving sales by making these drinks relevant to their enjoyment both on holiday and at home.

Mike Greggs, Diageo?s Customer Marketing Director GTME said: ‘From our qualitative research we?ve seen that consumers place a remarkable emotional emphasis on that very first drink of their holiday; the travelling and the hassles are over at last and this is the pivotal ?the holiday starts here? moment. We want this campaign to evoke that emotion by reminding them of just how wonderful it is to have their favourite drink to celebrate one of the highlights of their year.

‘For many travellers, we believe that emotion will be stronger than ever this year and we can persuade them to celebrate both away and at home.?

To assist with this initiative, Diageo says it is mobilising a powerful range of brands for the campaign, including Smirnoff Red, Baileys Coffee, Jose Cuervo, Gordon?s, Captain Morgan and Pimms.

It adds that footfall drivers will include extensive airport concourse activity to ?interrupt? the traveller and draw them in to explore the offer – especially tasting activities at high-footfall locations, driving trial and conversion. It adds further that the foundation of the conversion drivers is in-store theatre underpinned by a strong value offer, including 'mouth-watering imagery, innovative small store solutions and sampling'. As well as the theatre around in-store activation, Diageo says there will also be either a strong price offer, or a summer-themed gift with purchase.

The drinks giant says that it has also developed a programme of staff training and incentives to drive the programme, which is further supported by an onboard retail offer and advertorials in inflight magazines of major UK charter airlines – including Thomas Cook and Monarch. It says this is aimed at ensuring passenger awareness throughout multiple touch points on passengers' journeys.

The global campaign will run in Europe during the peak summer holiday period, May-August. A regional adaptation for the Americas' cruise sector and Canadian border stores launches a month earlier and runs through to August. The Middle East will experience the campaign between April and July. Meanwhile, Asia and American airports will focus on Baileys Coffee.

Diageo points out that the campaign has already received positive pick-up globally, with Autogrill just this week signing up key holiday sites such as London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Palma and Alicante to run the promotion at scale. At the same time, it says that French travel retail giant Aelia will run the campaign at Paris CDG and also at Luton Airport.

COMMENT: This is the first time such a wide ranging promotion has been launched by a major drinks company in the duty free and travel retail market, indicating that Diageo is prepared to put its money where its mouth is when it talks about increasing passenger penetration into the shops, conversion and subsequent value added transactions. It will be very interesting to see how passengers respond to it.

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