TV back in marketing mix for Diageo after going ‘missing’ from recent media strategies

Alcohol beverage firm Diageo is to crank up its TV marketing after admitting the channel has been lacking from its media strategy in recent years.

Marketing and innovation director Adam Ballesty told Mumbrella that TV remained a powerful medium and that some of its core brands will return to the small screen later in the year, including Smirnoff. The vodka brand will take two executions from “The Party” ad which launched in the US in April featuring actor Adam Scott and actress Alison Brie.

He also rejected there was any such thing as a digital strategy, insisting it was all about “screens” that were part of a single strategy of which digital was one element.

Ballesty, who is seven months into the role, explained that although more dollars are being directed towards digital marketing, TV “still works”.

“That’s where most people are, that’s where we can target fantastic shows and where we can create unbelievable partnerships,” he said. “I think one of the misses of our media strategies over the last few years is that you have not seen a lot of our brands on TV. We have walked away from it but TV is still one of the more powerful screens.”

He revealed that along with Smirnoff ‘s ‘Exclusively for Everybody’ campaign which launches in Australia in October, Bundaberg will also launch a high profile crusade that will feature TV.

Ballesty suggested TV sat in the same marketing strategy as digital as he downplayed there was a distinct digital strategy.

“For me, it’s all about screens. The one thing I am trying to get my marketing and agency teams to stop talking about is a digital strategy,” Ballesty said. “I just want a strategy and digital is part of that strategy.

“So when we talk about a screen that can be a movie theatre, a phone, laptop, iPad or TV. In terms of percentage [the budget spent on digital] has grown exponentially and the reason for that is because that is where the eyes are. But I am not sitting here mandating that 60 per cent of my spend must be digital. I just say that 100 per cent needs to be spent getting the maximum return on that investment.”

The Smirnoff campaign will kick off in Australia in October and will focus on two executions taken from “The Party” campaign – ‘bouncer’ and ‘mixologist’ – which launched in the US in April. The ads, which feature actor Adam Scott and actress Alison Brie, will run across TV and digital video while outdoor and social will also feature in the promotional drive.

The aim of the campaign, ‘Exclusively for Everybody’, will attempt to move away from the ‘pretentious and exclusive’ image that has become associated with Vodka.

“It’s going against the trend of vodka which is about exclusivity, VIPs, glamour and the ‘you’re not getting in because you’re not good looking enough’ image,” Ballesty explained. “This is about being exclusive for everyone which means it’s for everyone and for all occasions.”

He said the 18-22 target market “despise the fakeness” of exclusivity.

“[The campaign] will bring a really honest chat to them which I think will resonate.”

Meanwhile, the Bundaberg campaign will focus on the core brand with the aim of getting people to “fall back in love with it all over again” and take the brand more upmarket.

Steve Jones


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