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Inside Baileys' 'from coffee to cocktails' marketing strategy

Baileys is hoping to place itself at the forefront of consumer’s minds with a content and marketing strategy focused on coffee and cocktails as it looks to build on the brand’s ongoing transformation from a Christmas drink to a year-round option.

The Diageo-owned Irish cream liquor will this year focus on associating itself with coffee as it looks to take advantage of the 18.5 billion cups of coffee that are consumed each year across Great Britain, a strategy that has already proved fruitful in North America. Alongside its coffee ambitions Bailey’s will continue to push its Flat White Martini drive that launched last year in the on-trade as well as offering up recipe options such as recent trials on Facebook with Buzzfeed’s food-based video channel Proper Tasty, which saw the channel create a variety of recipes such as Bailey’s French toast. Since launch in February it has already garnered around 15 million views.

Speaking to The Drum Anna Macdonald, marketing director at Diageo said that Bailey’s is looking to take advantage of occasions where people are looking to indulge themselves, with social media playing a key role in its strategy.

“There are 50 million cups of coffee consumed every day and 35 million adults who drink coffee [in GB]. Some of that is in the morning and that is not an opportunity of interest but over 10 million cups of coffee consumed after 5pm every day so 20 per cent of the opportunity this late afternoon early evening post meal which is a big opportunity and occasion for Baileys.

“We already started with the ads that we made before Christmas and I think [while the] from coffee to cocktails space is not unique to Baileys – there are other spirit brands playing in that space – I think the consumer interest in coffee, the evolution of more people trying different coffees and flavours is definitely something that presents a big opportunity for Baileys.”

The brand will for the first time have a sizeable presence at London Coffee Festival and has recently created a framework to operate in what Diageo calls the ‘third space’, essentially opportunities to reach consumers outside on-trade and off-trade such as festivals or places like London’s Borough Market.

Bailey’s has been working to shift its marketing strategy to tackle the issue that while loved by consumers they often need reminding that the brand exists outside the realms of Christmas. While that’s an association that Bailey’s is obviously keen to retain, reminding fans that it can be drunk year-round is something that MacDonald said the brand is “ruthlessly focussed on” going forward.

“What we’ve tried to do is simply and ruthlessly focus on things that prompt consumption and its really about reminding consumers when and how to drink Baileys. That’s all the way through using more of our comms in serve based content, putting the serve of the product at the heart of the communications and having more variety in the serves and the serving suggestions that we promote.

“That’s not to say we are de-prioritising Baileys over ice, that will always be the primary way in which the brand is consumed but showing people more and different ways we know that’s something that they are interested in so that’s number one: putting drinks and serves and occasions at the heart.”

Another facet of the strategy is sampling, or what the brand has dubbed ‘liquid on lips’. Bailey’s hopes to get 3 million people across Europe to sample its product range, which includes Baileys Orange Truffle and Baileys Chocolat Luxe, an activity that MacDonald said is one of the most effective ways of promoting consumption. “It is delicious, people love it, they just kind of forget about it.”

LAst week(18 March), the Office for National Statistics selected the Irish cream liquor as an item that best reflects Britons’ shopping habits.

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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