Women need more choice in the drinks market, according to Paul Walsh

Women need more choice in the drinks market, according to Paul Walsh

Women should be offered more choices in the drinks market and marketing made more female-friendly, according to Diageo chief Paul Walsh. 

At a press conference following the group's full-year results today, Walsh argued that women are "under-served" by the range of products available. "We need to offer more choices for the female consumer in developed and emerging markets," he said. 

Walsh also admitted that marketing in the drinks industry has "traditionally had a very male voice". 

But he added: "Diageo has done a lot to change this, and this year we stepped it up even further." Walsh pointed to the campaign the company has run with Mad Men actor Christina Hendricks for Johnnie Walker saying it works for both "men and women". 

On the product side, the CEO said that Jose Cuervo Light Margarita has been a "great success" in North America. 

He also highlighted a new permium alcoholic apple-flavoured RTD launched in Kenya, called Snapp.

"In Kenya, women told us they didn't like drinking beer particularly in the on-trade. Packaging and the liquid was viewed as too masculine, so we launched Snapp," he said. 

Walsh called the 4% abv drink, launched in April, a more "stylish and sophisticated alternative to beer". 

Overall, Diageo's Africa sales grew 11% in the full-year, with operating profits up 20%. 

Later, Diageo's chief marketing officer, Andy Fennell told just-drinks said there is a "new era of female empowerment" in emerging markets, particularly Africa. Snapp has also been launched in Nigeria, and Fennell admitted Diageo was looking at other emerging markets for possible roll-outs. But he said there are currently "no plans" to launch the brand into Europe.

Earlier, Fennell said that the company has to be "careful not to patronise people" with its marketing. 

Meanwhile, Walsh also spoke about Diageo's premium baijiu brand, Shui Jing Fang, which was launched in the UK last month. "The liquid may not always be familiar to Western palettes," he said. "There may be some challeges to overcome, but it's a large category and it's premiumising... it's got huge potential."