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Diageo says no to superficial ads- any creatives want to play?

November 2, 2009

Fresh from Bloomberg, comes news of a change in advertising direction for Diageo.

“The maker of Guinness stout has seen a change in the way marketing
and advertising are perceived, with consumers more likely to respond to
messages about a product’s quality and heritage, rather than a
superficial ad campaign, Walsh said.

Diageo’s new online
campaign for the Smirnoff vodka brand, its top-seller, focuses on the
story of founder Piotr Smirnov and his son Vladimir, who fled Moscow
for Paris after the 1917 Russian Revolution having escaped death by
firing squad. Guinness’ advertising campaign this year has focused on
founder Arthur Guinness and the stout’s 250th anniversary.

“Bling has gone, consumers’ views have changed,” he said. “People will
still pay for quality, but ostentatious consumption is gone.” To
reflect the change, Diageo has shifted its advertising focus to “play
up the legitimate quality credentials of brands, with more talk about
authenticity,” the CEO added.”

Here’s a company that was built on the back of brands with strong emotional identities that’s making a move to the rational as a means to defend itself against upstarts. Obviously, this is based on solid research and evidence of a backlash against the fluff of luxury.

Obviously, there’s a bigger question here for advertising in general, is the move to more rational messaging something that’s going to stay?

One could argue that in a new world where product proof is everything, this is the way of the future. 

However, I am not so sure this is a world that most creative people want to be part of. Perhaps someone will prove me wrong.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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