How a set of radical reframes reversed Baileys’ decade of decline and drove double digit growth across the globe
Cream Liqueur was seen as past its prime
Cream Liqueur was seen as a dusty drink of years gone by, brought out only at Christmas, and served only one way - in a tumbler, over ice. Nowhere was this clearer than in Baileys sales, which had been declining across the world for nearly a decade. And it wasn’t that people were just drinking beer and wine; from the resurgence of gin and the birth of Aperol Spritz, people were still drinking spirits, just not Baileys. Baileys faced a conundrum; research consistently showed that people had genuinely positive feelings towards the brand, regularly topping the list of spirits people loved. There was a huge amount of latent love and nostalgia for the brand; people just weren’t buying or drinking it.
A series of radical reframes to transform the brand’s fortunes
A radical change in approach was required. So we set ourselves some bold ambitions. We wanted to increase the versatility of the Baileys liquid and to turn latent love for the brand into consumption, (without sales other lifts would be meaningless.) We focused on 3 radical reframes for Baileys:
1. From lofty purpose to product indulgence.
2. From cream liqueur to world of ‘real treats’.
3. From one-off festive blockbuster to millions of triggers to treat.
Refocusing on our product truth
The reason 100m European drinkers claim to love Baileys is not because of its philosophies on emancipated pleasure seeking – it’s because it’s part cake, part booze; pure indulgent liquid pleasure. It’s a real adult treat. So we did away with lofty assertions and refocused on the product itself, in all of its deliciousness.
Reimagining Baileys as a real ‘Adult Treat’
Embracing the indulgent truth at the heart of Baileys gave us a launchpad out of the dormant liqueurs category, and into the world of ‘real adult treats’. In an age where food and drink had become a source of entertainment, moving into the treating space gave us the opportunity to place our brand and product at the centre of a cultural phenomenon, framing Baileys within a whole new exciting category and context. We created a new visual world and tone of voice that modernised the brand and placed it firmly in this online world of adult treating. Here, we could leverage our product truth and trigger consumption within wider food and drink culture and trends; playfully reminding people why they loved Baileys and giving them more reasons to drink it, more often.
Banning the blockbuster
We banned the 60” blockbuster of old and developed a media strategy that focused on short moments of ‘lick the screen deliciousness’, all delivered under a new global platform ‘Don’t Mind if I Baileys’. From recipe videos, to media partnerships and a social-first ecosystem of prompts and triggers, we served people treating content at the moments they would most enjoy it, and importantly wouldn’t be able to resist it. Every bite-sized element now drove indulgent associations by demonstrating the range of delicious ways and moments to enjoy Baileys. From cakes and brownies to ice cream and coffee, there was no treating moment that couldn’t be made even more delicious with Baileys.
And it wasn’t enough to just show people how delicious Baileys could be. We wanted to get it in their hands; from partnerships with the London Coffee Festival, to influencers like treating trendsetter ‘Molly Bakes’ and coffee connoisseurs like ‘The Grind’; we focused on bringing the versatility and deliciousness of Baileys into people’s lives. Our immersive Baileys ‘Treat Bar’ was born. Beginning in Dublin and then spreading to London’s Covent Garden, the US, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia and Colombia, the ‘Treat Bar’ gave consumers the opportunity to engage with Baileys as a truly new, playful and modern brand through experiencing new serves and creating their own Instagrammable creations.
Baileys Treat Bar
The proof is in the pudding
Baileys has dramatically boosted its consumption occasions and increased global sales by 32% in 5 years, exceeding 2008 levels when the decline began. The Baileys turnaround story has won Silver in the IPA Effectiveness Awards in both 2018 and 2020. Crucially, the number of ways people consume Baileys has doubled over this period. Baileys is a one serve pony no more.
The Baileys turnaround is a reminder that brands needn’t be beholden to their first consumption rituals and categories. It shows that no brand is ever beyond saving. Now in 2021, despite an uncertain world, Baileys is looking to the future, with growth ambitions that would have been unthinkable just four years ago. Don’t mind if we Baileys!