Battleground #1: Winning in key markets


In a sector as competitive as Wine & Spirits, differentiation in the market can make the difference for outpacing the competition. With this in mind, we identified four key markets that are essential to continue achieving this goal and accelerating our growth: the United States – the largest market for our Group and the industry as a whole, China and India – two vital growth markets, and Travel Retail – the foremost distribution channel for our Prestige brands.

In China, Pernod Ricard partnered with Tencent, the Chinese Internet and broadcasting giant and owner of WeChat. This partnership has afforded us the possibility of co-creating fresh content, reaching a new target group of ultra-connected consumers and, in consequence, raising awareness of our brands in this highly-promising market.


With a population of 1.4 billion people eager to explore new trends and products, China is a market with almost unimaginable potential. Enthusiastic users of digital tools, millions of Chinese go online every day to search, socialise, share or shop. To reach consumers via these new channels, in 2017 Pernod Ricard China and Chinese web and broadcasting giant Tencent signed an exclusive partnership, the only one of its kind in the alcohol industry.

Monkey 47 gin & tonic

Monkey 47 gin & tonic in an iconic Absolut Elyx copper pineapple

Martell Party Channel

Homepage of Martell Party Channel on Tencent digital platform

Ask Jerry QR code

Ask Jerry QR code to learn more about cocktails online

Ask Jerry offline cocktail experience workshop

Ask Jerry offline cocktail experience workshop

Incomparable to even the largest global digital companies, Tencent is an integrated platform offering an almost unlimited range of internet services: imagine Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Netflix and Amazon all wrapped up in one big digital package. As the owner of the most popular messaging app in China, WeChat, which has 1 billion users1, this tech firm holds an immense pool of user data – essential information for brands to better understand and connect with consumers. Through the partnership, Pernod Ricard has the unprecedented opportunity to co-create content delivered on the various Tencent platforms and access data that can be leveraged to target consumers.

This partnership extends beyond more traditional above-the-line advertising activities, with several innovative marketing strategies launched over the last year.

Martell teamed up with Tencent to create the first branded party channel in China, a content hub that has averaged over 2.1 million views daily. Meanwhile, Chivas signed a landmark, multi-year marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) China. With basketball consistently featured on televisions in China across all retail channels, this partnership – supported by Tencent, which also has the exclusive rights to broadcast all NBA games – generated over 833 million Chivas brand video views, with 7 million users actively engaging in the Chivas content.

Ballantine’s also took advantage of the Tencent partnership to launch a local Chinese “True Music” community, a platform for users to discover new music, vote for their favourite artists or songs, or participate in contests to win a variety of prizes and concert tickets. In addition to recruiting 13,000 members in only six months, this new channel had over 120 million visits.

(1) WeChat Quarterly Report (Tencent), 1st quarter 2018.

(2) The 42nd China Statistical Report.
Chivas Advertising Poster

Chivas Advertising Poster

Signing of the Tencent partnership

Signing of the Tencent partnership

These initiatives have reached a vast audience, dramatically increasing both online and offline awareness of these premium brands. In a virtuous circle, they have also enabled a consequential body of data to be gathered that affords more insights into local consumer needs.

Inspired by the explosion of consumer interest in cocktails – the number of cocktail bars leaping from 800 in 2014 to 14,000 in 20173 – Pernod Ricard China launched Ask Jerry, an unbranded live chat cocktail platform integrated in WeChat.

“Jerry,” a virtual cocktail expert, answers user questions, in turn promoting cocktail culture and knowledge about spirits. In addition to Jerry’s 54,000 followers, an integral part of this initiative is the dedicated bartender community, which has around 3,900 members. By building brand knowledge and loyalty, Ask Jerry has successfully developed relationships with Pernod Ricard consumers while at the same time creating a new channel for sales, even offering drink delivery services. A newly formed joint venture with an external tech company will further accelerate Ask Jerry’s development.

This multi-pronged marketing approach to a huge and highly-diverse market has proven that the Pernod Ricard China initiatives together as a whole are greater than the sum of its parts. They have successfully increased product visibility and promoted brand growth. With more projects in the pipeline, the potential of this key market is ready to be unleashed.

(3) Internal Source.

campo viejo
Discover our Campo Viejo wine brand’s story in our 2017-2018 Integrated Annual Report (P. 62 to 63)

Excessive drinking is dangerous for the health; alcoholic beverages should be consumed with moderation.

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