Olly Wehring

Beefeater out to police London's call girls?

By: Olly Wehring - 26 January 2007 14:03

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Press briefings on a company’s financial performance can be dreary affairs, to say the least.

However, yesterday (25 January), the French came to London in force to present Pernod Ricard’s first-half numbers at its Beefeater distillery.

Managing director Pierre Pringuet and his colleagues were bullish about the company’s performance - and with good reason. Sales were up almost 10% in the six months to the end of December, Pernod said, thanks to a strong performance from its spirits brands, particularly in Asia and the Americas.

The Pernod team were also confident about the prospects for Beefeater gin, which has been given a makeover and is set to be backed by a multi-million global ad campaign.

The campaign trumpets Beefeater’s London heritage and the executions include iconic - albeit predictable - symbols of the capital - red buses, black London cabs, Tower Bridge, red phone booths, you name it.

Looking at the ads, one English journalist had a reasonably valid question. “Are you going to remove the prostitutes’ calling cards from the London phone booths?” the hack asked.

Quick as flash, and with Gallic eyebrow raised, Pernod executive Christian Porta replied: “Ah, looks like we have an expert on such things here…”

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