Diageo is the world's foremost spirits business, controlling more than 20 of the world's top 100 brands by value including premium brands Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan (12.1m cases in 2019, according to Impact Databank, with retail value almost $2.2bn), Crown Royal (7.8m cases, $2.2bn) and Baileys (7.3m cases, $1.6bn), as well as Guinness stout. The acquisition of United Spirits of India added a large portfolio of value-priced regional spirits brands, including McDowell's, Hayward's and Bagpiper. McDowell's alone shifts well over 50m cases of whisky, brandy and rum a year, with combined sales of $3.4bn a year, making it Diageo's third most valuable brand after Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff. Other key brands in selected markets include iconic Australian rum Bundaberg, Gordon's and Tanqueray Gin, Turkish raki Yeni, Chinese baijiu Shui Jing Fang, Brazil's Ypioca cachaca, Casamigos and Don Julio ultra-premium tequilas, Ketel One and Ciroc vodkas, and a large collection of whiskeys such as J&B, Bell's, The Singleton, Buchanan's, Grand Old Parr and Windsor. Diageo has established a strong suit in celebrity partnerships. It acquired Casamigos in 2017 for a staggering $1bn from George Clooney and his business partner, and inked a similar deal in 2020 with Ryan Reynolds for Aviation Gin. Ciroc is marketed in partnership with US rapper-turned-entrepreneur P Diddy, while Haig Club operates in partneship with David Beckham. 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, as well as a number of key brands in developing markets. 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 global beer and in 2015, Diageo agreed to divest virtually all of its small wine business, mostly to Treasury Wines Estates. The group has an important strategic partnership with LVMH's Moet Hennessy division, in which it controls a large minority shareholding. This has prompted speculation that it might at some point launch a bid for full control of that business, possibly at the same time as it offers Guinness up for sale. After a record year ending 2019, Diageo's performance was dented in the year ending June 2020, especially in the second half, by the impact of Covid. Despite a surge in home drinking, restaurant, pub and club sales are a key factor for sales of spirits, and these were curtailed globally by the pandemic. For the year to June 2021, net revenues were £12.7bn with net income of £2.7bn. Both figures were an improvement on 2020, but still below ye 2019. Total volumes were 238m equivalent case units. The rebound was strongest in Latin America, where volumes leapt 22% on an organic basis, compared to just 11% in North America and 7% in Europe. Globally, whisky accounts for around 39% of sales, and Scotch whisky alone for 23%. Beer added 15% and vodka 11%. Ivan Menezes is CEO.
Capsule checked 12th April 2021
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Historical profile information for Diageo
Marketer Moves 2nd Aug 2021: New global consumer planning director at Diageo. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Jul 2021: Diageo reported a modest recovery for its latest financial year, ended June 2021, but results were still below the year to 2019. Revenues rebounded to £12.7bn, while net profits jumped by 89% year-on-year to £2.7bn, but both figures were below the same period two years earlier, when Diageo reported topline of £12.9bn and bottom line of £3.0bn.
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Aug 2020: Diageo just made actor Ryan Reynolds even wealthier. The drinks giant has agreed to acquire the operations and brands of US spirits manufacturer Davos Brands for up to $610m, comprising $335m upfront and another $275m over ten years depending on performance. Best-known brand by far in the portfolio is Aviation Gin in which Reynolds is both minority shareholder and creative director. The actor is expected to net well in excess of $100m from the deal, and will remain the creative director of the brand under Diageo's ownership. Davos's other brands include Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal and TYKU Sake. It's not Diageo's first deal with Hollywood: the drinks giant also owns the Casamigos tequila brand co-founded by George Clooney.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Aug 2020: Despite the supposed surge in stay-at-home lockdown drinking, Diageo's volumes and revenues tumbled by double digit percentages over the past six months, offsetting growth in the second part of 2019. For the full fiscal year ended June, volumes were down 12% to 217m cases, while net sales fell by over £1bn to £11.8bn. Net profit fell by more than half to £1.4bn because of a huge write-off against operations and selected brands in India, South Korea and parts of Africa. In terms of global volumes, North America was least badly affected with modest overall growth of 2% compared to declines of 12% or more in all other global regions. Virtually all brands reported volume declines for the year, with only Crown Royal, Bundaberg and Bulleit in positive territory.
Adbrands Daily Update 30th Apr 2020: "New Drinking Buddies". Interesting to note that, as the initial shock dissipates and we all get increasingly used to lockdown, those creative juices are really starting to flow. No surprise to find that the best of these home-confined ads are inspired by alcohol, either in front of the camera or (doubtless) behind it. Anomaly NY creative director Mark Sarosi shot most of this ridiculously entertaining spot for Diageo's Bulleit bourbon in his own home, using fixtures and objects around the house. The whole thing feels delightfully spontaneous and hand-made - um, because, it is - so all credit to Diageo for going with it as a proper ad.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Mar 2020: Diageo's chief marketing officer Syl Saller is to depart this summer after more than 20 years with the group. She originally joined the company in 1999 as CMO for the UK. Saller will focus her attention on leadership development and coaching services. "Deciding to leave and embark on the next stage of my career is one of the hardest decisions I've ever made," she said. "My goal is to go out into the world and develop more of those people." Her successor is Cristina Diezhandino, currently global category director for Scotch and managing director, luxury brands. North America president Deirdre Mahlan is also retiring from the company in June and will be replaced by Debra Crew, former head of tobacco firm Reynolds American.
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