Diageo GB chief promises fresh brand push

Diageo have vowed to “invest strongly” in flagship brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys in the UK to build on the 5% sales increase reported last year.

Speaking as the drinks maker reports its results for the 12 months to 30 June, Diageo GB managing director Simon Litherland says he is “proud” of the division’s performance “despite a challenging economic and consumer environment” and will look to grow sales through improving relationships with retailers and pubs.

“We will continue to invest in building a stronger business by up-weighting its focus on our good customer relationships in the on and off trade and to invest strongly behind our core brands and innovations,” he says.

He adds that there are a number of “exciting” marketing campaigns to come in the run up to Christmas, including a renewed push for Baileys.

Litherland is also quick to highlight its performance in the spirit category where its brands registered double-digit volume growth, up 18% against category growth of 6%, it claims.

“The sustained strategy focused on improved shelf availability and visibility of Diageo’s brands during critical selling periods such as Christmas, Easter and summer led to strong market share gains,” he claims.

Diageo’s Baileys brand increased volume by 17% and net sales by 5%, driven by double-digit growth in the off trade and gains for the Baileys Flavours range.

Litherland also declares himself “very pleased” with the performance of Guinness in the UK.

The drink, the company says, outperformed the rest of the beer category in the declining UK pub and club market with “broadly flat net sales”.

Diageo says the “success” was driven by the 250th anniversary “Aurthur’s Day” campaign for the brand and its subsequent Bring it Life repositioning, which pushes the drink as one to be enjoyed in social occasions with friends.

“Off trade share also increased through the growth of packaged Guinness, and both channels were supported by the new ’Bring It To Life’ marketing campaign, which included the new ’World’ television ad, a great St Patrick’s Day and the culmination of the Guinness Premiership in May.

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