James Wilmore

Guinness gaff draws a grin from Diageo's top man

By: James Wilmore - 20 November 2013 16:58

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Four months into his premiership at Diageo, Ivan Menezes showed that he can cope with the odd curveball thrown at him by media. 

At a press gathering, following an investors day in London yesterday, I decided to ask him about a slightly uncomfortable recent episode in the UK involving Guinness. The team behind the Irish stout brand took the unusal step of booking out an entire three-minute ad slot during an episode last month of ITV's primetime chatathon The Jonathan Ross Show. 

So far, so good. 

But the spot featured Jonathan Ross himself in a bizarre pseudo chat environment, with comedian Danny Wallace and Professor Robin Dunbar talking about the benefits of male bonding. As we reported at the time, the Twitterati were not impressed and neither was my colleague Olly Wehring

So what what did Mr Menezes think of the debacle?

In a relaxed manner, with even a slight grin on his face, he told just-drinks: “It didn't turn to be as good as we wanted, but I'm glad they tried it... I want people to push the boundaries.” 

He added: “If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.” 

On that basis, I can't wait to see what the Guinness gang try next. 

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