Diageo (UK)

Selected Diageo advertising

Diageo is the world's foremost alcoholic drinks business, controlling several of the world's best known spirits including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan Rum and Baileys liqueur, as well as Guinness stout and a small collection of wines. The group was formed in 1997 by the merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness. It has streamlined its operations considerably since then, selling off food brands Pillsbury and Burger King, while also adding the choicest brands from the former Seagram portfolio. The group is especially strong in North America and Asia; weaker in Europe where it is outgunned by arch-rival Pernod-Ricard. There are also significant gaps in its non-spirits portfolio. Guinness is its only sizeable beer, and its presence in the global wine sector is modest at best. However it has an important strategic partnership with LVMH's Moet Hennessy division, in which it controls a large minority shareholding. 

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Jul 2014: A key factor weighing on all companies in the luxury market has been the Chinese government's crackdown on conspicuous consumption and especially the courting of local officials with lavish gifts such as high-priced alcoholic spirits. That caused a sharp drop in performance in Diageo's full-year results. Organic growth was just 0.4%, while reported revenues fell by 9% because of currencies and prior year adjustments to £10.26bn. Pretax profit slumped 11% to £2.71bn. Separately, the former Grey and Karmarama executive Nicola Mendelsohn, now head of Facebook EMEA, joined Diageo's board as a non-executive director.

Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Jul 2014: Diageo finally secured majority control of Indian spirits giant United Spirits Ltd after a long battle with regulators and lukewarm investors. A revised open offer to existing public shareholders which closed this month has allowed Diageo to double its stake to a little under 55%, for a total cost of £1.8bn. As a result, combined volumes of Diageo and USL now total 246m cases, more than double rival Pernod-Ricard, though virtually all of USL's sales are at considerably lower non-premium prices.

Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Apr 2014: Diageo and Remy Cointreau both suffered from the continuing impact of the Chinese government's "anti-extravagance" drive, which has led to the closure of thousands of hostess bars and other venues serving high-priced cognac and local liquor baijiu. The government is also stamping out practices such as the widespread gifting of expensive alcohol and other luxury items to local officials to curry favour. As a direct result of these measures, Remy Cointreau's cognac revenues in China plunged by almost a third in the latest quarter, while Diageo's sales across the Asia Pacific region fell by 19%.

Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Apr 2014: Diageo is making another attempt to take majority control of Indian drinks group United Spirits with a £1.1bn tender offer to buy out minority shareholders. Diageo already effectively controls the company through a 28% holding, but wants to build its stake to around 55%. Previous offers have failed to win over existing investors and also face legal challenges. The new offer is priced at around double Diageo's previous bids. India is the world's biggest whisky market, accounting for around half of global consumption. United is the single biggest player with a collection of sub-premium brands led led by McDowell's and Bagpiper.

Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Apr 2014: Footballer-slash-marketing phenomenon David Beckham and his business manager (and Pop Idol creator) Simon Fuller are lending their talents to the launch of Haig Club, a new super-premium whisky variant for Diageo. "I'm proud to be working at the heart of a homegrown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years," said Beckham. It follows in the wake of similar celebrity tie-ups by Diageo, of which the most successful has been with Sean "Diddy" Combs for Ciroc vodka. Beckham's endorsement profile has if anything ramped up since he retired from professional football, with a series of high profile partnerships with brands as diverse as H&M and Jaguar cars. 

Which agencies handle advertising for Diageo? Find out more from the Adbrands Account Assignments database

Who are the competitors of Diageo? See also Alcoholic Beverages Sector index

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Diageo website

Captain Morgan's Rum J&B Scotch Whisky
Gordonís Bundaberg Rum
Bailey's Irish Cream Crown Royal
Tanqueray Gin Archers
Windsor Royal Blossom Hill
Tessera Vineyards Seagram's 7 Crown
Sterling Vineyards Seagram's VO
Baron Philippe Red Stripe

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