Pernod Ricard axes Allied Domecq global marketing review committee

Pernod Ricard has disbanded the global marketing review board of Allied Domecq, which it bought in July, marking the first step towards the integration of the businesses.

Allied Domecq’s then-chief executive Phil Bowman set up the board two years ago to review its advertising concepts and marketing strategies in response to the Government’s policy on sensible drinking. It comprised six external members, including Marketing Society chief executive Hugh Burkitt; US educational reformer Lisa Graham Keegan; and Australian Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs member Keith Evans.

In one instance, the board members overruled Allied Domecq’s decision to use the image of an angel “unzipping” to become a devil for the Ballantine’s brand. The proposed global campaign was not rolled out as a result.

A letter by Pernod Ricard director-generals Richard Burrows and Pierre Pringuet says that the board will not be retained because of the group’s decentralised make-up, which is “in sharp contrast to Allied Domecq’s marketing structure”. The letter goes on to say that Pernod Ricard already has a code on ethical marketing and advertising standards, and that it does not need external advisors to ensure compliance.

Pernod Ricard vice- president of international public affairs Rick Connor explains: “Publicis Groupe handled Allied’s advertising and media, making it easy to take centralised decisions. However, Pernod Ricard has a roster of agencies, which makes it difficult to have one team assessing local marketing and advertising choices.”

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