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Adriana Perez – Pernod Ricard

Beefeater Gin
Adriana Perez 3
Written by Gin Foundry

With the gin renaissance now a truly global affair, we decided to catch up with the movers and shakers who are introducing gin to markets across the world. One of the key areas for brands is in the airports (ie. duty free or global travel retail) where opportunities for sampling, brand education and  gift purchasing are all present on a daily basis. We met with Adriana Perez, Brand Manager (Beefeater, Plymouth) Pernod Ricard Travel Retail to see how her iconic brands were faring in this fast moving channel.

Gin Foundry – Adriana, thank you for talking to us and sharing some insight into the world of Duty Free and what you do. To kick it off, could you explain a little about your job and how long you have been in your role?

Adriana Perez – I’m currently Brand Manager for Beefeater and Plymouth, as well as other Pernod Ricard brands within the travel retail channel throughout Europe. This means I am responsible for finding strategic opportunities to activate the brands I manage; finding different ways of not only engaging with the consumer, but enhancing their overall experience and interaction with the brand, in the hope that their relationship with the brand goes beyond the airport!

Travel Retail is an exciting area and considered to be a “market” on its own. What are the biggest challenges to overcome for a brand like Beefeater?

Travel Retail is indeed a very exciting channel – I personally think it’s a combination of on-trade, off-trade and experiential, which makes my job really dynamic. We create mini-events in a very restricted environment, which makes our jobs not only stimulating, but very thrilling as well! Beefeater London Sounds activation is the perfect example: it is a full pop-up experience which includes tastings, interaction with the brand through musical instruments, social amplification using an interactive Instagram wall and an opportunity for consumers to win a VIP Music Festival experience in the UK.

One of the biggest challenges for Beefeater is to be able to stand out in a very creative and dynamic category with players like Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks all being very active and  investing a lot of money in visibility. For a brand like Beefeater, not only is it important to be visible but it is crucial for us to build brand saliency through a relationship with our consumer created by memorable and exciting in-store experiences.

You achieved this very well with the Plymouth Gin bar in previous years that helped educate consumers about the gin itself and dramatically increase sales over that period. Brand campaign aside, it was a great looking bar in its own right too. Any plans to bring it back to duty free or for Plymouth Gin to activate once more in 2015?

Absolutely! That bar is my pride and joy and I’m delighted to say that the Plymouth bar is currently in London Gatwick South terminal until the 11th of August. We updated the bar slightly, to enhance the maritime heritage that is so strongly linked with the brand. We are serving Plymouth Gimlets and Marguerites at the bar, with Plymouth brand ambassadors that not only create the cocktails for the passengers, but also talk them through the different botanicals of Plymouth Gin (which are also featured on the bar, in portholes – this allows passengers to smell the different aromas) and give them overall education on the brand and its history. On the 23rd of July, we had Global Brand Ambassador Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge signing his very own Plymouth Martini & Plymouth Gimlet books and interacting with passengers, which is key for a brand like Plymouth. Sebastian’s Plymouth Martini & Plymouth Gimlet books are given to passengers as a free gift with purchase, exclusive to Gatwick passengers.

The Plymouth bar will also have smaller versions appearing in Manchester T2 starting the 29th of July and running through to the 1st of September and Barcelona T1 throughout the month of September, the brand’s first activation in a Spanish airport.

Very nice! Do you feel like you have to try to appeal to a different kind of consumer given the transient (tourist travelers) nature of airports? How do you go about generating an idea that has to have such a broad appeal?

AP – Not necessarily a different type of consumer – it’s the same consumer but with a different mind-set. It also depends on the airport – people travelling through Heathrow tend to be  business travellers whilst at Gatwick they tend to be leisure travellers. Whatever the mind-set of the consumer, we have to ensure that we stand out and grab their attention as they are walking through the shops and terminals.

The London Sounds campaign has seen Beefeater London Dry repackaged with a vinyl wrap & a Geo-synked Spotify playlist. What was the idea behind the project and what do you want it to achieve?

The Beefeater London Sounds Limited Edition brings to life London’s rich musical heritage through the distinctive visual language of a record and a record collection. Created by songwriters, artists and admirers, inspired by the world’s most awarded gin and the musical style of the city, Beefeater invites the world to discover its own London Sounds. The idea behind the project is that Beefeater consumers are passionate about music and are eclectic in their tastes. It is how they express their identities and it shapes their conversations both on-and off-line; they associate with the creative spirit of London and its rich music culture.

Beefeater invites consumers on a vibrant journey through London’s diverse music in a rich interactive experience that enables Beefeater’s audience to discover the sounds, sights and stories behind London’s globally admired music scene – all linking it back to London being an iconic city both for Beefeater and it’s rich musical history. Through the partnership with Spotify, we have created an interactive map of London which becomes home to a library of fascinating stories, videos and interviews behind the most iconic London tracks, as curated by Beefeater. Tracks are pinned on the map, taking users to the most important places in music history.  Each step of the experience is developed to inspire, guide and engage with the user’s responses, who is  gifted with their ultimate and personalised Beefeater London playlist. The user has complete control of their journey and contributes to an elaborate live user generated Top 10 chart of the ultimate London music of all times. 

Do you have any further plans to work within music as an activation platform for the brand?

AP – Beefeater will continue to work with different platforms that strengthen the brand’s iconic status of the ultimate London Dry Gin, whether it be through music, British heritage, fashion or the arts.

One of the prizes during the campaign was a VIP trip to a UK festival. People are travelling all over Europe to attend specific events now from Sonar to Secret Garden Party and so on… Do you go to festivals yourself?

I love attending summer festivals. I wish I could go to all of them; but Glastonbury is definitely holding the no.1 place in my ‘Festival Bucket List’ and hope to tick that one off the list soon.

Working in travel retail, you must have a wider, cross-European view on Gin markets. UK and Spain are known as big consumers but are there new markets emerging with a particular thirst for Gin?

Gin represents about 652k 9L cases in European Travel Retail (IWSR 2013) and is one of the most dynamic categories in our market. Premium Gin has increased by +4.1% over the past five years, Beefeater being one of the brands responsible for this growth.

The top five countries for Gin represent 74% of the total sales in TRE (Nordics with 21%, the UK with 22%, Spain with 16%, Germany with 8% and Russia with 7%). The UK is the biggest Gin market in Travel Retail, it is also where a lot of the growth is coming from; however, Spain is the fastest growing market and might possibly overtake the UK as the leader. Germany and Russia are two new markets that seem to be developing a particular thirst for Gin.

Beefeater plays on its London provenance, both figuratively (the logo and immersive activations like London Sounds) and literally (though advertising and brand explanation) – do you think this is the aspect of the brand non UK consumers connect with most?

Absolutely! Beefeater London Dry Gin is the World’s No.1 premium gin and the World’s Most Awarded Gin that was created by James Burrough in the 1800’s. Beefeater is the only historic dry gin still distilled in London; so London is a huge part of the brand’s heritage. Beefeater aims to inspire consumers through the celebration of its links to contemporary London. Still to this day, every drop of Beefeater sold throughout the world is produced at the Beefeater Distillery in Kennington, London, near the river Thames.

It’s interesting to hear you mention links to contemporary London. When it was launched the Beefeater guards were an emblem for Britishness but today, as times of moved on they are less of a current symbol and slightly more of a pastiche of yesteryear. As flag bearers for London and “London Gin”, do you have to do a lot of trend research into what is going on in the capital today and how best to represent that to a global audience?

Yes, completely!  London is a fast-paced multicultural city and our link with the city means we have to adapt to its rapidly changing nature. Beefeater takes their trend research very seriously, which I personally think is best represented through the annual limited edition bottles we release – if you look at this year’s London Sounds limited edition bottle it features a vinyl record player which is one of the strongest global trends at the moment.

Adriana, thank you for talking to us, it’s clear that with all the activations going on Duty Free is an exciting area to keep an eye on in future. We look forward to seeing how it goes and checking in that little bit earlier to make time to visit next time we fly!

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