GLOBAL: J&B whisky boss looking for global "credibility"
The global brand director for J&B hopes the upcoming GBP10m (US$19.2m) push behind the Scotch whisky brand will help it achieve the global "credibility" it has in Spain, its largest market.
However, Nik Keane told just-drinks today (14 March) that J&B's owner, Diageo, is also looking to reignite recent stagnant sales in Spain.
Keane was speaking after Diageo unveiled a global ad campaign that it hopes will position J&B as the world's "party whisky".
The campaign will be launched in over 20 markets over the next 12 months and will aim to revive sales of J&B, which, on a global basis, were down 4% during the six months to 31 December.
Keane said J&B is already known as "the party whisky" in Spain, where the brand sells around 2.5m cases. He said the aim of the Start a Party campaign was to "replicate the success" J&B has had in Spain in other markets.
He said: "There is no doubt that we will look for the campaign to accelerate J&B's growth outside of Spain. It will then be behind informing whatever we do in Spain, on which there will be more news to follow."
Keane acknowledged that J&B had struggled in Spain in recent months but said its problems were shared across the beverage alcohol industry. Keane pointed to a crackdown by the Spanish government on drink-driving and a trend away from on-trade consumption as two factors behind the decline in the standard Scotch segment.
However, he said: "Scotch is continuing to appeal to people in their twenties in Spain. There has been great effectiveness behind our marketing campaigns in Spain and that has allowed us to maintain share in a declining spirits market."
Keane said Diageo had looked into J&B's history when developing its ad campaign. "J&B has always been known in the Scotch industry as an unconventional whisky and the business has been built on some fabulous on-trade activity," he said.
The aim, Keane added, is for the brand to continue to appeal to consumers in their twenties. He said: "We're looking to give Scotch the right to play among 20-somethings. The industry can no longer sit around and wait for people to trade up (to Scotch) when they are 30 and 40. That's not how people grow up anymore, they will trade up to luxury vodkas and rums.
"The industry needs a brand like J&B to recruit people in their twenties. Look what happened to Scotch in the US in the 70s, 80s and 90s - we failed to recruit new people into the category."
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