If David Beckham drank whisky…
David Beckham does drink whisky: Haig Club whisky. We now know this thanks to an entertaining and enthusiastic talk from Helen Bass, Diageo’s Consumer Planning Director.
Helen spoke at the latest of our series of Sundowner Socials, held, as always, at the Brand Exchange. Helen began by talking about the role of innovation at Diageo, and the challenges in expanding long-established and cherished brands such as Guinness.
Taking us through some of their historical failed attempts (Enigma, anyone?), Helen introduced Hop House 13, the new craft lager from Guinness. We weren’t able to sample the product but by all accounts it’s a very creditable brew (although as Helen acknowledged, whether a product from a major brewer can actually be labelled as craft lager is something of a moot point).
After a brief Q and A session, expertly marshalled as ever by Breakfast’s very own Ed Will, Helen proceeded to talk effusively about Haig Club whisky, a collaboration with David Beckham.
I’ll confess that despite Becks’ journey from helium-voiced Chingford dead-ball expert to fully-fledged national treasure and statesman, I didn’t really have him down as a credible whisky drinker, let alone spokesman. But in fact, it makes complete sense that he would have migrated from lager, to wine, to whisky as many men of his age will have done. (With a brief detour to aftershave somewhere in the middle.)
The accompanying Clubman from Haig Club commercial which Helen proudly played struck all the right notes for the target audience; stylish and beautifully shot, it didn’t pretend that Haig Club is a whisky for connoisseurs or red nosed Chesterfield-bound soaks, but instead trumpeted the brand’s suitability to be enjoyed with Coke and in the company of friends. All with just the merest hint of rebellion. Handled badly, the whole Becks does whisky thing could have gone horribly wrong, but this has been artfully done and I suspect the target audience will lap it up. And apparently David genuinely does like the drink, which he buys whenever Ribena is not available.*
Helen and her colleague Alice thoughtfully provided some tall, ice cold Haig and Coke for us in the bar, and, like Jamie Vardy in the penalty area, it slipped down all too easily.
The sixty or so guests who attended had another very enjoyable evening. If you’re interested in attending any of our future events, please get in touch with us and we’ll try and squeeze you in…
*This comment is not evidence-based. Don’t get too excited, Ribena.