Diageo calls global media agency review

Drinks giant is focusing on media planning and data.

Guinness: Diageo brand
Guinness: Diageo brand

Diageo has called a global media review as it seeks to be "at the forefront of media planning and data-driven marketing".

The drinks giant, which is one of the world's top advertisers and spends more than £2bn ($2.4bn) a year on marketing, has contacted all of the large agency groups about pitching for the media planning and buying account.

Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat retained the bulk of the business when Diageo last held a major international review in 2016.

Diageo owns many of the world’s biggest alcohol brands, including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Tanqueray.

A Diageo spokesman said: "It is industry best practice to review a major media account like this every few years.

"We have decided that the time is right to review our media agencies globally to ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of media planning and data-driven marketing plans."

The company declined to comment further. MediaSense, which is supporting Diageo on the pitch, would not comment.

Diageo’s biggest market is North America, which generates 35% of its net sales. Europe represents 23%, Asia-Pacific 21%, Africa 12% and Latin America and the Caribbean 9%.

The FTSE 100 company increased marketing spend by 8% in the last financial year – ahead of 6% organic revenue growth – to drive expansion and it expects "to further upweight" marketing expenditure again in 2020.

"We increased marketing investment in all regions, with the largest increases in US Spirits," Diageo said, adding that it has boosted the rate of marketing investment over the past two years as "we continue to build a platform for sustained growth".

Diageo said it has used its own data analytics tool, Catalyst, to "bring data and discipline to guide our marketing investment decisions".

It is thought that Diageo spends upwards of £500m a year on paid media, as its £2bn marketing outlay includes other costs.

The drinks sector has come under scrutiny over the promotion of alcohol and the company said in its latest annual report: "We do not see marketing campaigns and responsible-drinking campaigns as two separate channels.

"We invest significant time and money in training our marketers so that all our campaigns deliver responsible drinking messages – because we believe it is both socially and commercially essential for consumers to ‘drink better, not more’."

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