Diageo, leader in Alcohol Digital Marketing


The British group Diageo spirits are currently voted as the leader in terms of digital communication in China. The brands of the group have clear positioning and succeed in building a community around their products. Diageo’s executive team announced that they would invest more than € 1.23 billion in production capacity over the next five years to satisfy the growing demand of the Chinese market.


baileys ad


Baileys 百利

Unknown 3 years ago, Diageo has taken a huge profit from Chinese social network services (SNS) with viral videos, a Weibo account, and Buzz campaigns encouraging women to share their own cocktails recipes based on Baileys.

Many interesting creations from cocktails to cakes or Chinese dishes using this Irish whiskey cream were shared on social networks. The sweet taste of Baileys also meets its targets: independent urban women workers.

Examples of shared posts

” Vodka +Baileys + Cofee Liquor+ a spoon of vanilla powder is delicious…”

“Coffee liquor + Orange brandy + Baileys and then this is what you obtain !”
A video that circulated on Chinese social networks, highlighting women’s freedom.


The  Weibo account of Baileys is very well done. News is posted on a regular basis and visitors who talk about their product are valued.

33,700 fans and very good interactivity with main women Weibo users.

Johnnie Walker

Communication of the whiskey brand targets businessmen and focuses on Chinese males as it brands itself as an ideal drink for successful businessmen.

Video promotion is the major strategy the brand takes, and it was mainly storytelling about the product. They were appreciated by the public.

This one speaks of ethics, heritage conservation, and the Chinese struggle of a young businessman against the hierarchy.

Brand ambassadors

Johnnie Walker established campaigns with brand ambassadors very early. Their first brand ambassador was the famous blogger Han Han who symbolized the generation post-80s in China.

Today, Jonnie Walk tries to use people less famous but typical characters to represent the positioning ​​of the brand.

The most recent example is this master of Tai Chi which is still seen as a noble art in China.

The image of brand ambassadors and their influence is essential to build a good brand image and improving brand awareness. Communication among key opinion leaders  (KOL) is a powerful tool in China.

Each video is seen hundreds of thousands of times, without advertising, just naturally circulating on the Chinese Internet.

Johnnie Walker’s Weibo account has gained more than  278,000 people following the brand and favoring its brand spirit “Keep Walking” which is the idea of the gentleman who keeps his freedom and retains its value.

Blue Label

This brand is the more premium whiskey by Diageo. Some of that Whiskey has more than 50 years. The premium positioning target wealthier classes, and of course men.

This brand has a community of 10,000 fans on Weibo and communicates more with prestigious videos.

The Weibo page of “Blue Label”


The Vodka brand targets clubbers, and younger dynamic males. The brand has 50,000 followers on Weibo and is less dynamic than the others. However, it’s still one of the most influential alcohol brands on the Internet.


This is the kind of video made for Smirnoff. It’s rather basic in comparison with others.

A brand of Baijiu: 水井坊

Diageo acquired a local brand of Baijiu 水井坊 . Communication is focusing on the history of Baijiu.



The famous Irish brand of beer is not a  priority for the group in China. His Weibo account is not active and their website is boring. http://www.guinness.cn/zh

The Chinese public is perhaps not yet ready to drink this kind of beer.


Diageo highlights the different products on Weibo accounts dedicated to the whole group.

On his very stylish Weibo, Diageo highlights the different options of its brands to support them.

What proves that Diageo has already won the battle of digital marketing?

The absence of his greatest rival Pernod Ricard on Chinese social networks for a long time was strange. Indeed, none of the brands of the French group were represented on the largest social network Sina Weibo Chinese until this summer.

But Pernod Ricard was the leader in the alcohol market in 2010 with 37.5%  of the market share against 27% for Diageo. But the growth of Diageo (23%) is stronger than the French group (12.5%)  ​​in a market that continues to grow.

Today the British group has 18,000 fans for Chivas ( Chivas Weibo), its flagship brand. 22,000 for Ballantines and a record 44,000 for Smirnoff in 2 months.

Whiskey dominance in China

Whiskey represents 80% of sales of spirits for Diageo in China. (Source: Euromonitor).

The brand Jack Daniel’s is not represented on Chinese social networks. Brown-Forman group has not decided to embark on the Digital.

Scotch exports have been skyrocketing for seven years, and in 2011 reached a new expertation record valued at 4.23 billion pounds, an increase of 23% compared to 2010, according to data from the Scotch Whisky Association, which is part of Diageo.

Diageo has reported a sales increase of scotch with annual sales now about 3 billion pounds or about a third of the total turnover of 9.9 billion pounds released by the group in 2011.

Paul Walsh (COO of the group), expects an increase of  50% in sales of whiskey for Diageo in China over the next 5 years.

Marketing to China

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