Warc Blog

Diageo backs premium brands in Asia

16 May 2013
SINGAPORE: Diageo, the drinks giant, is continuing to focus on premiumisation across its entire brand range as a driver of growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Gilbert Ghostine, President of Diageo Asia-Pacific, told analysts that there would be a "particular emphasis on accelerating super and ultra premium price points".

Premium variants were one aspect of this, and he outlined the success of two recent scotch launches targeting specific price points. Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, at $85, sold 100,000 cases, while Johnnie Walker 21 years old, at $100, sold more than 50,000 cases.

He explained that Diageo had also doubled the value of its reserve brands since 2010 and that these now accounted for around 30% of advertising and promotion spend in the region.

He cited the marketing for the launch of John Walker Odyssey, a rare triple malt costing more than $1,000, which involved recreating the journey of ship captains who were paid on commission by the Walker family to sell Johnnie Walker across the world.

As well as generating media coverage and online engagement, he said the campaign had created "an active impact on perception of luxury by associating the brand with the global elite".

In addition to such marketing, he pointed to a "focused and differentiated approach to the critical 4,000 trend-leading outlets in the region". More than 2,000 bartenders had been trained in the company's reserve brands, he added.

Diageo has also opened two of its own "outlets" in China in the form of Johnny Walker Houses. These "embassies for whisky culture" were, Ghostine revealed, "oversubscribed in terms of high net worth Chinese individuals who have expressed interest to visit them".

Further down the socio-economic scale, a growing middle class across Southeast Asia and India was opening up new opportunities for the company's brands.

"We are doing lots of work to understand consumer needs, consumer insights, and we come with variants and brands to meet their expectations," said Ghostine.

He offered the example of Eva, a wine-based ready-to-drink brand launched in Thailand and which "delivers against the female expectations in this market".

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff

 
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