“We Got It Wrong For A Really Long Time”: Diageo’s Adam Ballesty On The Baileys Brand

“We Got It Wrong For A Really Long Time”: Diageo’s Adam Ballesty On The Baileys Brand
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Diageo’s outgoing marketing and innovation director has admitted the beverage giant missed the mark with one of its campaigns for the Baileys brand.

Speaking as part of a panel at B&T’s inaugural Changing the Ratio conference in Sydney this afternoon about the way brands market towards women, Adam Ballesty said Diageo “got it wrong for a really long time” with Baileys.

“The global campaign that came out in 2011 was ‘Helping you to shine’, and it was directed at women who clearly lived on the 54th floor in New York,” he said.

“It was a disaster of a campaign because I don’t think anyone that drinks a milk-based liqueur feels like shining towards the end of that moment.”

Baileys 2012 campaign [1]

Baileys 2012 campaign [2]

However, Ballesty said the recent work Diageo has been doing locally (that is being amplified around the globe) to promote Baileys is all about the indulgent moment.

“It’s about that conversation [of] usage and attitude versus gender and age,” he said.

The panel session also saw Ballesty share how Diageo focuses on inclusion, opportunity and flexibility.

“I’m really lucky – my team is 70 per cent female, so [gender diversity’s] not a challenge for us right now,” he said.

“In my leadership team, I’ve got four women – they’re all part-time working four days [per week]. I don’t want them to work five days. I don’t want them to send me emails on a Sunday.

“It’s about creating a work plan that is effective and efficient for them and the business, and building that contract way upfront.”

Ballesty said one of Diageo’s strengths is creating contracts with employees that are aligned to the company’s values and where they want to go with their career and what stage they’re at in life.

“What we’ve got to do is create that for humans – not just for women,” he said.

“I’ve currently got two guys in my team who are taking paternity leave because if you’re living in Sydney and you’ve got a mortgage and you want your kids to go to a decent school, chances are you’ve got both parents working and going at a thousand miles an hour.”

Ballesty also conceded that men are generally “pretty dumb” and will compete against the person next to them rather than build their career for the right reasons.

“Boys will ask for the promotion or a pay rise even if they don’t deserve it, [and] women don’t, he said.

“My advice to any young woman coming through the ranks is to just jump in early.”

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