Diageo on the case again

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

You’ve got to hand it to Diageo. The company not only talks the talk about ‘premiumisation’ – an ugly word but an important concept – but walks it as well.

Invariably when I walk into a duty free wines & spirits store I find examples of Diageo adding value through special packaging, limited editions and innovative promotions. I snapped the picture above during a fleeting transit visit through Hong Kong International Airport last week when (initially) walking past the Sky Connection store.

It’s almost the definitive travel retail exclusive – a special promotion for ultra-premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label featuring a lovely blue travel trunk, a bottle of Blue Label and added value accessories. It’s eye-catching – it certainly caught mine – and a great footfall creator. And it’s got a great tagline – ‘your passport to luxury’.

Diageo is determined to move right away from a price-driven proposition on Scotch whisky and is seeking to focus relentlessly on value, not volume. It’s money in the bank – or the tills – that counts and the drinks giant sees its future in this channel as a high-quality purveyor of premium spirits that enhance rather than discount the brand, both in monetary and image terms.

The pictured offer is just one of many that you’ll see in the marketplace right now – the McLaren racing pack for Black Label is another – and there are some great gifting packs for Baileys Irish Cream that we’ve previously commented on. In every case the brand and the retailer can charge more and make more, yet the consumer feels treated. That’s got to be a good thing doesn’t it?

We think the ‘premiumisation’ trend in spirits, led particularly (but not exclusively) by Diageo and DFS Group at brand and retailer level, is one of the most encouraging industry dynamics of recent times. It’s a far cry from that which rang around the conference halls in the mid-1990s, which said that liquor was dull and boring and mired in its own traditionalism.

That’s all changing as brand companies such as Diageo prove, literally in this instance, that they’re on the case with premiumisation.

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