Diageo mulls Great British Bake Off-style drinks show as it outlines Christmas marketing drive

Drinks giant Diageo is “very keen” to see a Great British Bake Off-style programme produced for its spirit brands, including Smirnoff and Baileys, as it continues to eye opportunities within the billion-pound spirits category.

Speaking to The Drum, Richard Barlow, customer marketing director GB, said the potential “is huge” as consumers are increasingly demanding more brand history information and content around Diageo brands.

“If we can have a programme that millions of people tune into to watch people bake cakes, why can’t we have a programme where people come and make drinks? I could absolutely see that as the future.

“You’ve just got to go on YouTube and look at Jamie Oliver and see what he’s doing around drinks at the moment, so yes I think the potential is huge. The total beverage alcohol consumption has declined in Western Europe and Great Britain in the last five to 10 years and this is an opportunity to bring people in, to premiumise, to get people playing and enjoying and trying different things.”

Diageo has already taken steps into the area with its Diageo Reserve World Class mixology competition which was last year broadcast on in several countries including on the Food Channel in the UK.

“Last year we filmed the final and aired in several countries around the world,” Nick Temperley, head of reserve brands GB told The Drum.

“We’re not prime time BBC2 but we made a TV programme, we got it out there and a lot of countries are watching. It’s not Masterchef but it’s a first step; if things go well and the viewing figures are good and people are interested there’s every reason to believe that we as a company would be very keen for that to happen.

“I don’t know if we would produce it but we would be very keen for brands turning up on TV In an interesting way, creating interesting drinks and telling stories.”

Earlier this year, Diageo announced it would be spearheading the Spirt Revolution campaign to snag a larger part of the spirits category, which is currently worth £9bn for the on- and off-trade, and Barlow said there is opportunity to drive a further 11 per cent growth estimated to be worth £1bn in incremental sales.

Key to this is the opportunity around the festive period; last Christmas the spirts category grew by £77m, faster than any other Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) category such as beer and wine, and Paul Isherwood, head of off-trade category development, said Diageo is this year focussing on five areas to engage consumers.

These include making its ‘top ten’ brands, which deliver 46 per cent of spirits sales in the Christmas period, “visible and available” in stores; pushing forward its premium Reserve brands, such as Johnnie Walker and recently launched Haig Club whisky.

It will also position spirits as “the gift this Christmas”; highlight innovation products such as Smirnoff Gold and Baileys Chocolate Lux and bring consumption occasion to life in store.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of liqueur brand Baileys, it will launch a £3.5m campaign to introduce new drinkers to the spirit whilst also re-engaging with existing fans.

Set to roll out from 26 November, the campaign is an evolution of its previous advertising following the brand reposition and will tap in to the female zeitgeist and the idea of women celebrating each other.

A limited edition Baileys Chocolate Luxe gold bottle will be introduced on 1 November and will launch in the off-trade and be supported by extra point of sale materials at retailers.

2015 will also see the launch of a campaign to ‘put Baileys on the lips’ of 1m people through sampling activity and an eight-month partnership with Cosmopolitan magazine, and represents the largest on-trade investment in the Baileys brand in over a decade.

Meanwhile, the recent Filter campaign for Smirnoff will be supported by a full packaging re-design across the whole range of Smirnoff products to increase on-shelf standout. Two new premix variants, Smirnoff Cosmopolitan and Smirnoff Moscow Mule launched this week.

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