Q&A: Lavazza Group CMO Carlo Salvadori

Marketing Week caught up with Lavazza’s chief marketing officer Carlo Salvadori during its sponsorship of Wimbledon this year.


Marketing Week (MW): This will be the third year that you’ve partnered with Wimbledon. How has the partnership evolved?

Carlo Salvadori (CS): With a relationship like this, you have to get to know each other and you are continuously learning. You need to understand what’s important and how to make a difference. Every year our relationship has strengthened; you learn to do things better.

This year, in particular, I feel that things have really clicked. We started with a sponsorship presence at Wimbledon, but now we understand that we don’t just want a presence there. It is a relationship that Wimbledon values as much as we do, so in the end we said: ‘let’s strive to become a new Wimbledon tradition.’ This was the turning point. We have made Wimbledon a showcase, demonstrating how Lavazza can be part of the British market – a new tradition for Wimbledon – and a more respected brand in the UK.

As brands we share three common values: the wish to excel and the importance we place on quality, which is always at the forefront of our minds; the desire to innovate, and respect for each other’s brand and what it represents. These shared values make for good chemistry between the brands.

MW: What does it mean to the Italian brand to be connected to such a quintessentially British institution?

CS: If you want to become a loved brand in a particular country, you have to associate yourself with beloved institutions. You have to prove that you understand the values of a nation. This is the way we look at Wimbledon. It’s a way to link the values of the two brands and it also helps us to understand the mentality behind the things that are loved by Britain.

MW: Why did you decide to incorporate real people from behind the scenes at the tournament in Lavazza’s new advertising campaign?

CS: Wimbledon was keen for our relationship to continue and we wanted people to witness this passion for the brand, so we thought: ‘instead of sponsoring the event, let’s turn Wimbledon into a testimonial’. We discussed it and found such enthusiasm for the idea that we decided it was definitely the right thing to do. The way we executed the campaign and the quality of the images etc. also contributed to its success.

MW: How will you measure the success of the campaign?

CS: For the past few years, we have been measuring the positive effects of our presence at Wimbledon by the fact that we have been gaining more and more consideration in the UK market.

We want to increase the consideration of Lavazza among UK consumers and change the attitudes of the British consumer towards roast and ground coffee, made in the Italian way. On average, 500,000 taste a Lavazza coffee at least twice during Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is a real testimonial and is influencing all of our brand metrics positively. The roast and ground share of coffee consumption in the UK is still relatively small. Starting from this small base we are aiming for important growth rates and we are experiencing them.

We are looking at a long term strategy. We want to keep these growth rates at more than double digits and from what we are seeing, our partnership with Wimbledon will contribute heavily to this.

MW: Why did you focus on underground and digital as the main marketing channels for the campaign?

CS: We used underground as a channel because we wanted to achieve very high awareness during the period of the campaign and we used digital because we also wanted to work on word of mouth.

The people that we are looking to engage with are those who want to change some of their habits and want access to a different way of drinking coffee. The core target market are those who will accept Lavazza as a new tradition. We think this will resonate with a younger demographic.

Digital is one of the things that can help spread our message and make the message more authentic, as it is spread by real people. This is more powerful than a pure traditional campaign.

MW: Is this the first time you have used bloggers as part of a campaign?

CS: Bloggers are influentials. They can spread the word about Lavazza and they bring a lot of insight to us as to how the brand can evolve in the future. That’s a really strong asset for us. We work with bloggers often, but we’re using them more and more for events such as this.

MW: What are your objectives for the UK market for the year ahead?

CS: Wimbledon is one of our key strategies for the UK, although we know that Wimbledon is an internationally recognised event. We have renewed our sponsorship for another three years. Wimbledon has become one of the pillars of our strategy.