Pernod Ricard became the world's #2 spirits and wine company behind Diageo in 2005, following completion of a takeover of larger rival Allied Domecq. It became bigger still three years later with the acquisition of Vin & Sprit, parent group to Absolut vodka and other brands. As a result, it has become a keen challenger to Diageo worldwide, and the local leader in most major international markets except the US. Historically, alcoholic beverages formed only part of Pernod-Ricard's portfolio, which also stretched to fruit processing and general distribution. However the group took a decision in the late 1990s to focus on its core spirits business, virtually doubling in size as a result of acquisitions. Absolut remains the group's top brand with sales worth $2.4bn in 2019, according to Shanken's Impact. It is supported by premium spirits Ballantine's (sales of $1.9bn), Jameson Irish whiskey ($1.7bn), Chivas Regal (1.7bn) and Martell ($1.2bn), as well as a collection of non-premium but high-selling Indian whiskies led by Imperial Blue ($2.0bn) and Royal Stag ($1.9bn). There is also an important wine portfolio that includes Jacob's Creek, Brancott, Campo Viejo, and Mumm and Perrier Jouet champagne. These are accompanied by a large collection of smaller global or regional spirits: Havana Club rum, Ricard pastis, Malibu rum, Beefeater gin, The Glenlivet whisky, and many more. All non-alcoholic operations have been sold. The group operates a highly decentralized structure, with brands divided between six brandowner businesses, each responsible for manufacturing and global strategy of their own products, and another six regional distribution and operations units. Patrick Ricard led the group's dramatic expansion for almost 35 years until his untimely death from a heart attack in 2012 at the age of just 67. His nephew Alexandre Ricard was appointed as chairman & CEO in 2015. The Ricard family control around 22% of the group's equity. Revenues hit a record €9.2bn for ye Jun 2019, with net profit of €1.5bn, but then plunged the following year as a result of the global Covid pandemic. There was a modest recovery in ye 2021 to €8.8bn with net profit of €1.3bn. After steep declines in sales volumes in ye 2020, there was a strong rebound in ye 2021, led by Martell (organic sales up 24% globally, led by China and the US), Malibu (24%), The Glenlivet (up 19%), Kahlua (16%) and Jameson (15%).
Capsule checked 29th January 2021
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Historical profile information for Pernod-Ricard
Adbrands Update 3rd Mar 2022: Another wave of Western companies suspended operations in Russia in protest at the brutal invasion of Ukraine. Among the latest to quit that pariah nation were Ikea, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Volkswagen. Many more are expected to follow suit.
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Sep 2021: Pernod Ricard agreed to acquire UK-based whisky e-tailer The Whisky Exchange. Terms were undisclosed but media reports suggested a valuation in excess of £400m, making it one of Pernod Ricard's biggest deals for several years. Founding brothers Sukhinder Singh and Rajbir Singh will stay on for at least three years as joint managing directors. They were, with their families, the sole owners of the business, which reported revenues of £72m last year and profit of £11m.
Marketer Moves 29th Jun 2021: New marketing director at Pernod Ricard UK. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 20th May 2021: "Half An Ad". While its embattled parent agency in the US undergoes a full management reset, Crispin Porter & Bogusky's London office continues to stay in the game with the help of main client Pernod Ricard. And is repaying that client loyalty with consistently strong creative work. Here's the latest, a witty and highly inventive campaign for a light version of Ballantine's whisky. It contains half the alcohol of the main product, so the agency made only half an ad, three times over. The visual gags are funny and surprising, the last one especially so. Another example of spirits advertising that truly breaks out of the usual mould.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Dec 2020: "Against The Tide". We haven't heard much from Crispin Porter & Bogusky's London outpost for the past year, but they've surfaced once more in time for Christmas with a dramatic new campaign for Pernod-Ricard's The Glenlivet whisky. The new film isn't perhaps as powerful as last year's time-travelling epic, but you have to admire the boldness of the concept. That conveyor belt treadmill is astonishing. We can only imagine it was constructed inside a computer rather than in the real world - what a shame! - but it's an impressive contraption nonetheless. A little less of the gloomy lighting and a more dynamic voice over might have elevated the mood, but like last year's, it's still better than most of the other spirits ads in current circulation.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Sep 2020: Like rival Diageo, Pernod-Ricard suffered a sharp decline in performance in the Covid-impacted final quarter of its financial year to June. Revenues for that period plunged by almost 38% as the surge in home consumption was not enough to counter the steep fall in on-trade and travel retail sales. Annual revenues slumped to €8.4bn while net profit fell by more than three-quarters to €350m. Virtually all lead brands suffered a decline in volumes. Of the group's top 13 strategic products, only Malibu enjoyed positive performance. Volumes for Martell, Chivas Regal, Mumm and Perrier-Jouet were down by double-digit percentages, while lead brand Absolut fell by 7%.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Nov 2019: "Original By Tradition". It's about time we heard more from Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which has kept an uncharacteristically low profile of late. Its London office comes crashing back - literally so - with a splendid film for Pernod-Ricard's The Glenlivet, which makes excellent use of complex sets and clever CGI to recount the evolution of one of the world's finest whiskies. The brand might be all about tradition, but that doesn't mean you need to follow the same traditions to drink it. Scotch ads can often be a little dull, but this one is quite the opposite.
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Aug 2019: Like its arch-rival Diageo, Pernod-Ricard enjoyed solid performance in its latest financial year, ended June. Revenues rose by more than 5% to a best-ever €9.2bn while profit from continuing operations was up 9%. However a large impairment charge against Brancott and other wines, restructuring of operations in South Korea and an accounting adjustment caused net profit to fall 5% to €1.5bn. Generally, brown spirits once again out-performed white during the year. The group's star brand was Martell cognac, with volumes up by an impressive 18%. Royal Salute also excelled, up 16%, albeit from a low base. Beefeater, Ballantine's, Chivas Regal and Jameson also all did well, up 6% or 7% apiece. However, flagship Absolut remains a worry, with volumes falling by a further 3% worldwide (and by even more in the US). There was a similar decline by traditional French pastis Ricard.
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