Friday, 22 November 2013

Writer's Block...

I don't know why I've not been able to summon the will to put digit to keyboard much recently, maybe it's my growing cynicism about the state of the world in general and the British pub industry in particular... but fear not it would appear the muse has returned and like the little devil that perches on Tom or Jerry's shoulder from time to time, she has started whispering in my ear again...

This from an industry newsletter, Propel Information:

"Diageo to “reframe” Guinness brand: New premium Guinness taps and glassware are being installed in 8,000 pubs in the UK as part of owner Diageo’s “massive overhaul” of the brand in response to slowing sales. John O’Keefe, global head of innovation, beer and Baileys at Diageo, told the company’s annual investor’s conference in Dublin: “Slow sales have been driven by worsening macroeconomic conditions in Western Europe, particularly in Ireland. The last six months of our last financial year, we really felt the austerity programs biting in.” The company is now targeting its three key markets in Ireland, the UK and Africa, to “reframe” the brand. O’Keefe said: “We’re massively overhauling what this brand is about, in terms of our pack through to how we show up in bar through to a new global positioning, and how we’re going to regionally bring that to life in a way that’s culturally relevant and resonant for the next generation."
I wonder how much this latest exercise in pointless rebranding is going to cost Diageo, its shareholders and ultimately its customers (wholesale, retail and drinker) ? At a conservative estimate of, say, £500 a pub (new font, fitter to replace fonts, new POS. new glassware) that's got to be some  £4 millions, add on another for marketing, advertising, social media campaigns etc ant that' s a cool £5 million.

Apart from an exercise in vanity on the part of the likes of O'Keefe and a classic example of how now to use semiotics what's the point? After all the Guinness "brand" is so well known, not the harp or the gold lettering, but the bloody beer in the glass you dolt, so why does it need to be "massively overhauled"? In the first instance I bet they end up still using the harp and the lettering and in the second, unless they're going to have a Coke Zero moment, the beer will remain it's usual bitter/sweet unctuous black and whiteness, then this would appear to be a massive waste of time and money.

O'Keefe and the other fools at Diageo need to realise Guinness' dominant brand position within the UK and other markets for stout is virtually unassailable, hence the long-standing "tradition" of charging through the nose for it. 

So, here's an idea for you Mr O'Keefe, scrap the new fonts, the new glassware and all the marketing hype and just drop the bloody price of your beer! I feel sure this would reverse your company's declining beer sales and would make it "culturally relevant and resonant for the next generation" would also go down quite well with the current generation.

Funny isn't it? When the muse lands, I always need my meds? Nursey? Where are you?

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