Blog: Diageo and McLaren - a match made in Walsh's heaven
Olly Wehring | 23 November 2006
Woking, a satellite town just outside London, is not normally a place one would associate with cutting edge 21st century technology.
However, last night (22 November), Diageo gave the industry an update on its much-debated link with Formula One, during an event held at the über-modern McLaren Technology Centre.
Last year, the UK drinks giant signed a sponsorship deal with Team McLaren Mercedes for its flagship Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker. An association between a beverage alcohol brand and the sport is nothing new, but what has caused such discussion in the drinks industry is Diageo’s use of the sponsorship to promote a responsible drinking message around the world.
Just-drinks has discussed at great length the merits - or otherwise - of Diageo using Formula One to promote that message, but last night there was no doubting the company’s commitment to the project.
And last night, there was also no doubting that Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh was enjoying himself among the almost space-age glass and steel of McLaren’s HQ, designed by Lord Foster. McLaren Formula One cars, past and present, were parked throughout the building, which must have brought a smile to the face of Walsh, a confirmed Formula One fan.
After giving a speech on Diageo’s partnership with McLaren and its commitment to responsible drinking, Walsh spent most of the rest of the evening rapt in conversation with Ron Dennis, chairman and CEO of McLaren, no doubt talking about downforce, tyre changes and gossip from the pit lane.
If you need an enthusiastic work experience lad to help out around the place, Mr Dennis, one candidate certainly springs to mind.
Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....
PepsiCo created a stir last week with the news it is testing a product called Caleb's Kola, with some in the media claiming it was the beginning of a new “craft soda” category....
SABMiller's bid to widen the appeal of beer is very much in evidence at its latest 'House of Peroni' - with beer cocktails and a bigger bottle for the Italian lager brand on offer. ...
Here's a round-up of the big stories on just-drinks last week, featuring PepsiCo, SABMiller, the Scotch whisky category and the US wine market....
- Diageo's future brighter than present suggests
- Diageo's Q1 Results by Region
- SABMiller's troubles fuel M&A rumours
- Analysis - Remy's Cognac "dead-cat bounce"
- Focus - Remy Cointreau's H1 Performance by Brand
- Moët Hennessy unveils first Travel Retail outlet
- Diageo puts Beckham centre stage in Haig Club ad
- United Spirits sees Q1 net loss
- Diageo Q1 sales dip "in line with expectations"
- Moet Hennessy sales falter in YTD