Rosie Davenport
Heavy discounting in the multiples has eroded brand value to such an extent that most drinkers are unwilling to trade up in the spirits category, a report has claimed.
Only 27% of gin and vodka consumers who took part in the Mintel survey said they thought it was worth paying more for premium brands, a phenomenon Mintel argues is the result of retailer promotions.
The report, White Spirits, Market Intelligence 2003', said because discounting moved premium brands into the mid-priced category, it caused shoppers to question paying the full rsp when brands were off promotion. Sainsbury's spirit buyer Henry Stephenson said: "There isn't much difference between some branded vodka lines and own label ­ the difference is in the marketing. But with gin there's more of a story to tell.
"Ongoing EDLP is more damaging to brands than occasional promotions."
Sharon Reid, marketing manager for Bacardi-Martini's gin Bombay Sapphire backed the report's findings.
"We take a firm line on promotions because you can't build a brand long-term on discounting. There are other ways of getting people into a brand than slashing the price."
But Diageo's commercial PR manager Paul Flanagan said: "People have relationships with brands which they don't have with own label."

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