Diageo Begins $2.3 Billion Global Media Review

Spirits Giant Looks for Agencies to Deliver in 'Integrated Digital Landscape'

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Johnnie Walker's 'Joy Will Take You Further' campaign.
Johnnie Walker's 'Joy Will Take You Further' campaign. Credit: Johnnie Walker
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Diageo is the latest marketer to launch a wholesale media review, and is currently overhauling its planning and buying arrangements on a global scale for the first time.

The spirits giant, whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness and Tanqueray, did not confirm which media agencies it currently uses, other than to say that it works with four global networks, including Carat in the U.S. and the U.K.

The company also declined to say whether it plans to consolidate into a single network or into fewer networks, although executives familiar with the review suggest that Diageo will decide on this as the review progresses.

"Diageo can confirm that it is calling an agency review across its global media buying and planning services. The company will handle the process itself with a closed shortlist of agencies," the U.K.-based company said in a statement. "This review is about ensuring we are set up for the future and have the right agencies that can deliver in the fast-paced, globally integrated digital media landscape."

Diageo's CMO Syl Saller was one of Ad Age's Women to Watch in 2014. She became CMO in June 2013, following eight years as global innovation director at the drinks giant, where her contributions include three premium drinks: Johnnie Walker Double Black, Singleton malt whisky and Snapp, an apple drink aimed at women, which is Diageo's most successful new brand launch. She was previously marketing director for Diageo GB, and joined the company in 1999 from Allied Domecq Retail, where she was marketing development director.

Syl Saller, CMO of Diageo.
Syl Saller, CMO of Diageo. Credit: Diageo

Diageo has also recently reviewed some of its creative accounts, including moving Johnnie Walker from Bartle Bogle Hegarty to Anomaly, which created the current "Joy Will Take You Further" campaign.

Anomaly also won the global creative account for Gordon's gin last August, while Mother won the global Baileys business last October. Both brands were previously handled by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Diageo announced in January that global sales were up 1.8% in the second half of 2015.

Diageo spends more than $2 billion on marketing around the world annually. It ranks 52nd among the leading national advertisers, with $800 million in spending in the U.S., according to Ad Age's Datacenter.