Global ideas driven by cost efficiency will fail says Diageo

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 3 July 2015

The move to deliver singular global brand campaigns, in the face of harnessing efficiency and as a response to the omnipotence of the web, has been strongly countered at Cannes.

Brand bosses, such as Diageo’s global CMO Syl Saller, who has explored the potential opportunity believes that is an approach m“destined to fail”. Saller was speaking on a panel at Cannes Lions about developing global ideas that travel, alongside BBDO South Africa chief creative officer Mike Schalit, and Lara Valais, Visa’s head of North America marketing.

“If you're pushing it for efficiency, I wouldn't do it,” she warned. “If it’s not great, effective work, you're going to lose the money in your media buy.”

A better strategy, the panel suggested, is to develop razor sharp concepts based on simple core values.

Saller also explained that each region should be given the freedom to develop local executions which sit neatly within a brand's global positioning, while always making reference to that brand's central purpose.

Using the analogy of packing for a trip, Saller said: “Pack light, pack right” is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Talking about its recently introduced global positioning for Guinness, Saller said that if Diageo had tried to find one execution that worked across the US, the UK and Africa, “it would have failed”.

“The most important things to pack are your strongest brand assets, then cull it down to the fewest number of things. You have to know which the right ones are to travel. Far from being restrictive, companies have found this liberating. There's a
lot of freedom in the execution [from a tight brief].

“With Guinness we stick to theend line, the assets and the creative platform. Beyond that there is enormous local freedom.

That's what makes them truly great,” she added.

The panel also cited Mars’ Snickers campaign ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’, adding that instead of canvassing each local market’s wish list for a creative idea, they looked at the assets the regions couldn’t live without to drill down into a concept.

Visa’s Valais added: “It’s not just what you're bringing, but what you're not bringing. If you pack for every country – you don't stand for anything.”

Talking about Johnnie Walker, Saller said: “From 1990, we have consolidated 15 different global campaigns, into this one [Keep Walking]. There are different executions around the world but they are all rooted in progress.

“When I look at many great global ideas, Dove's Real Beauty or Likeagirl – they are all rooted in purpose.”

“But it needs to be clear why the brand has a right to talk about that purpose. It can’t be random,” she concluded.

A version of this story first appeared in the latest issue of AdNews magazine (26 June) Get the issue right now by clicking here.

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