Vario gets in spirit with Diageo drinks brands

Vario has been appointed by food and beverage conglomerate Diageo to create a brand positioning for two of its leading spirit brands in eastern Europe, as the company moves to exploit the region’s growth opportunities.

Diageo, which reported operating profit of £2.1bn for the year ending June 2002, recently divested itself of the Burger King chain and is focusing on premium drinks and ‘global priority brands’, according to chief executive officer Paul Walsh.

In his statement Walsh says venture markets such as eastern Europe have seen a 10 per cent increase in volume in the year.

Vario has been briefed to establish ‘brand expressions’ and a range of ‘twoand three-dimensional visual material’ for Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, according to Vario director Martin Seymour.

The work is due to launch in Poland over Christmas and early 2003 and roll out across central and eastern Europe over the course of next year, he says.

‘We will be creating all bar, restaurant and club materials including functional items like coasters and one-off pieces ranging from furniture to art installations for high-end clubs. We will also be responsible for overall schemes,’ explains Seymour.

In Poland Vario’s biggest challenges are convincing a ‘nation of vodka drinkers’ to switch to whisky and developing concepts which take into account cultural differences, adds Seymour.

‘We’re used to how the British behave, but [eastern European] social behaviour is entirely different. Drinking whisky is also a different experience [to vodka] and the Johnnie Walker ‘keep walking’ concept doesn’t translate well into Polish,’ he says.

Vario was awarded the work following a credentials pitch against several Polish consultancies and on the strength of previous work for the Johnnie Walker brand in Greece last year.

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