Guinness and Smirnoff maker Diageo is strengthening its marketing focus on supermarket sales rather than the on-trade channel to appeal more effectively to recession-hit consumers.

The drinks group pledged to improve its share in the take-home market by working more closely on marketing and promotional activities with the major multiples, as the ongoing economic gloom continues to lead consumers to drink at home.

“We’ve got to get the right share of promotions, the right share of display in stores,” Diageo UK managing director Simon Litherland said. “We’re finding a way to strike a collaborative relationship that is good for us and them.”

In a bid to raise the profile of Guinness in the supermarket beer aisle, Diageo is investing £5m in point-of-sale merchandise and other in-store promotional advertising.

This follows a £5m Christmas push for the brand, which included TV ads, sampling and seasonal POS for the off-trade.

Earlier this month, Diageo revealed that UK sales had grown 5% in the last three months of 2009, following a promotional push on spirits and its Blossom Hill wine.

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