Diageo's Devin Nagy on brand purpose as a 'powerful force'

"What we're seeing in purpose-led marketing really excites me right now."

Diageo's Devin Nagy on brand purpose as a 'powerful force'

Spirits giant Diageo, which is home to brands like Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, has a lot to be excited about right now, but purpose-led marketing is what the company’s director of technology and emerging platforms is most passionate about these days. 

During a chat with Devin Nagy at Advertising Week New York, the Diageo exec told Campaign US that a lot of the company’s brands are putting more of a focus on purpose now than ever before.

"It’s a powerful force and it’s driving results," said Nagy. "Upwards of 70 percent of consumers say they would recommend a brand to someone else if there’s a mission behind it, so this is real."

For about 10 years, Diageo’s Crown Royal has shipped its iconic purple brand bags filled with positive notes, food and personal care items to U.S. military personnel overseas, and recently, the brand expanded this effort with the launch of The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project. Now, the brand – in partnership with country music singer Thomas Rhett – is committed to distributing one million care packages to active duty service members and those affected by natural disasters by 2020.

"The brand is really trying to showcase generosity, an this is a great cause that consumers can get behind," said Nagy.

Outside of purpose, Campaign asked Nagy, who has been at Diageo for three years, about the trend of in-housing. "We will always make sure we have the most future-facing marketing model, but we will never discount the best creativity that comes form our agency partners," he said, adding that he doesn’t think the pendulum will swing to the extent of brands running all facets of advertising and creative themselves.   

"Agencies can’t try to deliver everything. They need to focus on what they do best and be present and deliver on that, and they have to partner with the folks we have in-house," said Nagy.

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