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Marketing Grey Goose

Andy Gibson
Former Chief Marketing Officer at Bacardi & Walgreens Boots Alliance

Learning outcomes

  • How Bacardi emotionalized and told the story of Grey Goose
  • The importance of designing the ice buckets Grey Goose was served in to complete the experience
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Executive Bio

Andy Gibson

Former Chief Marketing Officer at Bacardi & Walgreens Boots Alliance

Andy began his career at Diageo in 1999 where he was primed in the Diageo Way of Brand Building and led various different spirit brands across different continents. In 2011, he joined Carlton United Breweries, the leading beer company in Australia, as Chief Marketing Officer where he led the revival of the VB brand. In 2013, Andy joined Bacardi as CMO where he managed the global brand portfolio including Bacardi, Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire generating revenue of over $4bn. In 2015, Andy joined Walgreens Boots Alliance, the $26bn revenue global pharmacy, where he led the Global Brands Portfolio.Read more

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Interview Transcript

How did you emotionalize Grey Goose, as a product?

Let me say how we positioned Grey Goose, as a product. Actually, the founder of Grey Goose, was a genius, a guy called François Thibault, who actually said, I’m going to create a vodka, in France, off baking wheat – actually, not just France, in Cognac – and I’m going to put it in a wine bottle, not a vodka bottle, not a spirits bottle. Functionally, the brand had many reasons to believe.

There’s a bit of flavor to Grey Goose, which is actually French baking wheat. That’s the flavor. You know the bread in France, you come home and say, I’m going to eat baguettes, after a visit and you come home and buy one from Tesco and it’s just not the same. That’s the wheat that does that. He created the brand in Cognac because, actually, the water, the aqua de vie, in Cognac, is filtered through very minerally sandstone. So the water is very soft and very minerally. That makes a much purer spirit.

So the reasons to believe the foundations of the brand are amazingly strong. What François Thibault did, was actually, nothing ordinary. So the way that you position Grey Goose is all around defying the ordinary, to achieve the extraordinary. The way you bring that to life, is by emotionally messaging the extraordinary things that humans can do. The extraordinary things that can happen in life, down to the extraordinary nights you can have, in that nightclub, where you’ve got a VIP table and paid $1,000 for a bottle of Grey Goose.

What creative did you use around Grey Goose, to message that?

The campaign was called, Fly Beyond. It was really interesting, when I came into Grey Goose, because the GFC had hit, the 2008 global financial crisis had hit, and conspicuous consumption had become not really cool. The brand, again, had drifted a bit and people didn’t understand what made Grey Goose special.

Again, similar to Bacardi, we went back, we understood what were the reasons to believe? What’s the story, the provenance, the heritage? We told that story. We told it in a very engaging way. The creation of Grey Goose. We then created a campaign called, Fly Beyond. Fly Beyond was all about, don’t live an ordinary life. Live this extraordinary life. Everything that we did on Grey Goose, from the ice buckets that you received a bottle in, in a club, were all beautifully LED lit, from the bottom and there were sparklers in the bottle. Everything was about the extraordinary.

The core human motivation, for a brand like Grey Goose, or Champagne or Johnnie Walker, is all about, I’ve made it and I want you to know I’ve made it. Anything you could do, to actually have people clearly highlighting the fact that they had made it, was all part of the Fly Beyond strategy.

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