Pernod Ricard to step up global efforts to target female drinkers

Pernod Ricard is taking its strategy of targeting female drinkers global as it looks to find ways to accelerate sales throughout the world.

Pernod Ricard aims to make brands such as Jameson and Chivas Regal more appealing to women.

At its Global Capital Market Day which took place in Beijing last week, Pernod Ricard told Marketing Week exclusively that activity developed to appeal to women will be piloted in China but will roll out across the world if successful.

Other approaches also include tapping into drinking at meal times and converting beer drinkers to spirits.

In Asia, the maker of Jameson and Chivas Regal is trying to inject a ‘new momentum’ to revive slowing sales.

Sales from the region were 8 per cent in its last fiscal year, down from 15 per cent in the previous full-year.

The Chinese government is currently pushing a frugality agenda in Government to curb what it sees as a extravagance by some of its officials, which Pernod Ricard claims is a drag on sales and an overreaction to the growth of premium brands.

Horace Ngai, managing director of Pernod Ricard China, says: “When you see the other established categories slowing down we have to find new momentum and [targeting female consumers] is one of those.”

Ngai admits that Pernod Ricard is skewed towards the male population because its two key categories are cognac and whiskey but that could change as wine, spirits and new products developed for female consumption begin to drive sales growth.

A key channel to launch new products and push existing brands such as Malibu, Absolut and champagne brands, such as Perrier Jouet and Mumm, will be social media with messaging app Wechat and microblogging site Sina Weibo being popular among the female population in China.

Thierry Billot, managing director of brands, says: “We are very careful not to show to women that we treat them as a separate group. We are trying to target women in a smart way. Women don’t want to see a product that has been developed only for them and it’s more of a question of picking up on a brands taste profile that would have a good level of acceptance by women.”

The company also intends to tap into the trend towards drinking at home as living conditions in the region have improved and more consumers are likely to entertain at home.

Ngai adds: “Females support half of the world and that’s the half of the world we probably don’t have now but it’s the one we are going to get in the future.”

Rival Diageo unveiled a plan to target women last year after admitting it had focussed too much effort on male consumers in the past.