Diageo in roster talks over below-the-line shake-up

SmirnoffDiageo is in talks with agencies over its below-the-line roster. It is thought that the brief has a strong sponsorship element.

Diageo’s new global head of sponsorship Steve Cumming and James Taylor, who is a member of the procurement team, are understood to have been in talks with several below-the-line agencies in recent weeks.

The drinks giant has a large below-the-line roster. It includes: Tullo Marshall Warren, which handles Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker; Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, which works on Gordon’s Gin and Bell’s Scotch Whisky; and Chemistry, which handles Bailey’s. It is not known how the retained agencies will be affected by the changes.

Sources say the talks have been about some of Diageo’s leading brands. The company had not returned calls as Marketing Week went to press.

Cumming joined Diageo earlier this year from Coca-Cola, where he was head of sponsorship. He was responsible for Coke’s high-profile sponsorship of football’s Championship and League Divisions One and Two, as well as the brand’s association with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.

In the UK, Diageo uses its Guinness brand as the title sponsor of English rugby’s top league. The league became known as the Guinness Premiership in 2005, having previously been sponsored by Zurich.

Diageo’s Red Stripe beer and Johnnie Walker whisky sponsored the ICC Cricket World Cup earlier this year, while the company also secured pouring rights for Guinness at all venues at the tournament.

Earlier this year, Diageo appointed Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest to handle the £10m global advertising account for Tanqueray, its premium gin brand.

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