How Diageo is building emotional engagement with Johnnie Walker and Baileys

Geoffrey Precourt

When people order cocktails by brand, they're often making a bespoke style statement every bit as personal as the ties around their necks or the shoes on their feet.

The I-am-what-I-drink semiotics has made Jack Daniels the tough-guys adult beverage for decades; in the '80s, ordering an Absolut on the rocks in America was all but a declaration of supreme self-confidence – an expression driven in large part by TBWA's ABSOLUT [_____] advertising.

When consumers say they favor Diageo's Johnnie Walker over another blend of Scotch, "usually it's a combination of taste and perceived quality," Ellen Zaleski, Diageo director of consumer planning told an audience at The Market Research Event (TMRE) – a conference run by the Institute for International Research and held in Nashville, Tennessee. "In fact, the quality cues are huge and they tend to build a type of blogger loyalty for the brand.