Pernod Ricard, behind brands like Absolut vodka, Martell cognac, Chivas whiskey and Jameson Irish whiskey recently announced fiscal third quarter sales that were ahead of expectations.
Demand in emerging markets remains strong, specifically in China, where whiskey is doing well. But the U.S. is still a big market for the French drinks company.
As Pernod’s CEO Pierre Pringuet explains:
“The history of Absolut started in the U.S. in 1979, so as you can see it’s been more than 30 years of growth in this market. Overall the brand has been growing in the U.S. by 8% annually over 30 years.”
To keep that up – Pernod Ricard is tapping the power of what it calls the creative community. It’s collaborated with rapper Jay-Z, as well as a number of artists from musicians to photographers.
Film director Spike Lee helped design the bottle for a special local brew called Absolut Brooklyn. The marketing experiment went so well the drink was rebranded and sold as Absolut Orient Apple.
Pernod Ricard is also mixing it up when it comes to advertising.
“At the same time we use a lot of digital media and for instance there is one which can be used with your iPhone ‘Drinks Inspiration’, so with your iPhone if you focus on the specific flavor of Absolut it will immediately give you a list of cocktail, including the recipe to make that.”
But vodka is just part of the strategy. An advertising campaign to push Jameson Irish whiskey also appears to be paying off in the Americas. According to company data the region now makes up 35% of global Jameson volume, that’s up from 24% six years ago.
Bottom line: Pernod Ricard the world’s No. 2 drinks company, is filling up more glasses at gatherings around the world and hopes it can use Absolut vodka as the focus of its push to grab more of the U.S. market.