Making an impact with consumers through our brands
Many people’s opinions of a company and its products are increasingly shaped by their track record in being a sustainable business. And because technology now allows consumers to share their opinions with millions of others at the click of a button, brands and companies have to be authentic as well as being as transparent as possible.
We believe that when sustainability activities are done well, they engage consumers to become partners, which is a great way to build a brand. When we held a series of celebrations for Guinness’s 250th anniversary, we launched The Arthur Guinness Fund to continue the philanthropic legacy of the brand’s founder, and we succeeded in driving further participation in, engagement with and affinity for the Guinness brand.
But beyond the commercial impact, we recognise that reaching consumers through our brands can help to change attitudes and behaviour – whether on responsible drinking or on other social and environmental issues. In this way, our brands ultimately have the ability to leverage the impact of our sustainability and responsibility programme.
Responsible marketing practices
For us, world class marketing means not just responsible marketing, but also marketing responsible drinking. For this reason, we established a code of marketing practice to mandate minimum global standards for all of our marketing activity. This goes beyond existing regulations and industry codes, which all our marketing must comply with in any case. Our local businesses may strengthen the code to address specific local issues, but may never weaken it. Rather than hampering great marketing, we believe that such constraints challenge our marketers to come up with more creative and ingenious marketing ideas.
Following are some examples of our brands’ responsible drinking campaigns this year.
- Johnnie Walker – Formula 1: this brand is a corporate partner of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Team, and we have used this relationship to promote responsible drinking for six years now. At the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix, Johnnie Walker replaced its name branding on drivers’ helmets, racesuits and cars with the ‘DRINKiQ’ logo. DRINKiQ is Diageo’s global resource to help people make responsible choices about alcohol consumption. Grand Prix champions Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton are ambassadors for a campaign called Join the Pact, which encourages consumers not to drink and drive, and to appoint a non-drinking ‘designated driver’ to transport people who have been drinking.
- Johnnie Walker – World Cup cricket: we promoted responsible drinking in Trinidad and Barbados through a media campaign around the ICC Twenty20 World cup using iconic cricketer Sir Vivian Richards as an ambassador for the message: “Be a Giant. Don’t Drink and Drive”. Our research showed that the campaign message is understood and relevant for consumers, and that Johnnie Walker stands out as a brand that cares about its consumers drinking responsibly.
- Captain Morgan: in November 2010, Captain Morgan launched the One Million Poses campaign, a coast-to-coast pursuit in the US to inspire one million people to strike his iconic ‘Captain’s Pose’. For each Pose collected, the Captain donates $1 to the First Mate Fund, which was established to support responsible drinking initiatives and other programmes that benefit the community. First Mate Marisa Miller is the face of the fund, and has been travelling the country encouraging fans to ‘Pose with Purpose’. To date, Captain Morgan has raised $276,000 (£168,000) for good causes across the country.
Brands addressing broader sustainability issues
Increasingly our brand teams are finding ways to connect with consumers through campaigns that address social and environmental issues. In some cases this work supports charitable causes and in others it seeks to change consumer attitudes and behaviour. Below are a few of the largest examples of such activity:
- Smirnoff’s Glass is Good Campaign: in a win-win-win relationship, Smirnoff partnered with its glass supplier and customers in a recycling project geared towards keeping bottles out of landfill. Read more.
- The Arthur Guinness Fund: The Arthur Guinness Fund (AGF) aims to continue the philanthropic legacy of founder Arthur Guinness by investing in social entrepreneurs of the future. Diageo announced an increased investment in the Fund in 2010, which saw the total investment committed to global projects rise from €6.0 (£4.9) million to €7.4 (£6.0) million.
- Watermark: In response to the terrible floods in Queensland, Australia, the Bundaberg Distilling Company helped mark the resilience and courage of local communities in the face of natural disaster through Watermark, a series of special events that raised funds for recovery efforts. Coinciding with the day of celebration, Bundaberg Distilling Company launched a limited edition collectors' rum entitled 'Watermark' that provided another opportunity to raise further money for natural disaster relief.