Pernod Ricard digital advertising pours into travel retail

Pernod Ricard is ramping up the digital media outlay for its travel retail business in an attempt to be less reliant on in-store promotions to expand what is its third largest market.

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Pernod Ricard is to back its brands in travel retail through more targeted online promotions.

The drinks maker is developing a more targeted marketing strategy using a combination of banner ads and tie-ups with travel sites to reach travellers at three key stages of their journey; when they book a trip, when they are at the airport and after they arrive at their destination.

It is forging the deals with travel agents to push online ads for brands such as Absolut and Jameson around the notifications travellers receive around a trip. The drinks maker says it will use the targeted promotions to try and convert the 20 per cent of alcohol shoppers in travel retail who do not have an affinity towards a particular brand.

The digital drive attempts to capitalise on renewed growth in a category described by Pernod Ricard as its “third or fourth biggest country” thanks to a proliferation of Chinese travellers in Asia and Russians in Europe. Pernod Ricard, like the rest of the drinks sector, has ploughed the bulk of its marketing budget into in-store promotions to exploit travel retail’s upswing in recent years and following double digit gains from the sector in 2013 the drinks business is looking to new channels to maintain the sales momentum.

Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, says Pernod Ricard’s move reflects a wider shift of drinks makers looking to drive more engagement from travel retail as consumers opt to drink less but better quality. Earlier this week (16 December) Diageo launched a Johnnie Walker Blue Label Gallery at Heathrow Airport to promote the craftsmanship of the whisky.  

Forsyth adds: “Companies are now viewing travel retail not just as a way to drive sales but also as a shop window to introduce brands to people in the hopes of converting them into long-term customers.

“If you have people with not much else to do at the airport then that’s a fantastic opportunity to get them to taste the brand and really engage with them.”

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