Blog: Please, buy our products - No, not you.
Olly Wehring | 19 June 2006
Probably the most popular buzzword in the drinks industry of the last few years has been ‘premiumisation’. Hated by many for its lazy butchering of the English language, the premise of the word is really quite simple.
Getting consumers to trade-up and spend more is the aim of pretty much all of you out there, but what happens if, in trying to do this, a company finds itself attracting what it feels is the wrong crowd?
French Champagne maker Louis Roederer’s run-in last week with rapper Jay-Z is a class example of the potential minefield facing all brands.
In an interview with The Economist magazine, the company’s managing director, Frederic Rouzaud, was asked if his Cristal Champagne’s association with the hip-hop industry could harm his brand. “That’s a good question, but what can we do?” he replied. “We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”
Jay-Z took exception to Rouzaud’s comments last week, deeming them “racist” and leading a boycott.
At the other end of the scale, this reminded me of an interview a couple of years ago with (then Interbrew but now) InBev’s John Woods about his Stella Artois brand. Here in the UK, GBP5 will get you six cans of Stella, a brand which boasts of being ‘reassuringly expensive’. “If there were evidence that price discounting was having a bad effect on the brand, then we would be concerned, but we don’t have any such evidence,” Woods told me.
Both situations highlight what’s on either side of the tightrope that brand managers need to walk.
And yet, both brands are also household names - although Cristal might be more of an aspiration than a realisation in most households - suggesting that one needs to be careful what one wishes for.
Here's a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks last week, featuring Pernod Ricard, soft drinks NPD, the Champagne category and international beer brands....
Heavy metal legend Bruce Dickinson - lead singer of the band Iron Maiden, for the unitiated - is clearly a man not afraid to get his hands dirty. ...
The homebrewing revival continues in the UK - and evidence has come that even the supermarket chains are taking it semi-seriously. ...
Does Pernod Ricard have something to hide? In a press conference after the release of full-year results today, only a quarter of the 100 minutes were given over to questions from journalists....
- Allegro: The shape of things to come at Pernod?
- Pernod Ricard's Allegro cost-saving programme
- Comment - Diageo's Distill Ventures: One Year On
- The End of the Road for International Beer Brands?
- Pernod Ricard's FY Performance by Region, Brand
- Pernod Ricard set for CMO switch
- ASA bans Jägermeister TV ad
- Wine Australia reports death of UK, Europe boss
- Diageo takes Haig Club to Singapore airport
- Pernod bemoans tough FY as sales, profits drop