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Diageo Applies Multipronged Approach To Boost Struggling Baileys

December 31, 2013

Perhaps no spirits brand is as synonymous with the holiday season as Baileys. The cream liqueur leader has long counted on the last few weeks of the year for a significant portion of its business, and that shows no sign of changing as 2013 comes to a close.

Still, with Baileys’ sales in the U.S. sagging in recent years, Diageo North America is attempting to broaden the brand’s appeal by redefining its image in the eyes of consumers. The company has made a concerted effort to reposition Baileys into what the brand’s global marketing director, Rosalind Healy, calls “a stylish female brand,” employing a variety of initiatives that have made Baileys one of the market’s most innovative spirits brands.

Late last year, Diageo unveiled the biggest-ever Baileys global marketing campaign, featuring the tagline “Cream With Spirit.” The new campaign made headlines when it ran an ad during the broadcast of the 2013 Academy Awards, making it the first-ever spirits brand to advertise during the Oscars. Diageo has also repackaged Baileys, adorning the brand with a sleeker bottle that the company said was designed to fit inside a refrigerator door, increasing its relevance to the modern woman’s lifestyle.

Diageo North America has also released two new flavor extensions over the past year—Baileys Hazelnut, which the company says has gotten off to a strong start, and, in recent weeks, Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon. The latter launch clearly targets RumChata, the horchata-style cream liqueur that’s been stealing share from Baileys in the U.S. over the past few years.

It remains to be seen whether Baileys can reverse the downward trend that has seen its U.S. depletions slide from around 1.5 million cases in 2007 to less than 1.3 million cases in 2012 (according to Impact Databank). But Diageo has certainly succeeded in putting a new spin on one of the U.S. spirits market’s most established brands.

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