Comfort, utility, service, purpose: How Diageo has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

Diageo, the spirits manufacturer, has mixed consumer engagement with purposeful marketing as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In mid-March, overnight, 20% of our business disappeared,” reported Ed Pilkington, chief marketing and innovation officer for North America at Diageo, the alcoholic drinks manufacturer.“And we had to adapt pretty quickly.”

That volume represented the sales from the bars and restaurants that were shuttered as the novel coronavirus became a major facet of American life.

In thinking about these issues, the company could look at a bit of recent history. During the financial crises of 2000 and 2008, analyses demonstrated that spirits outperformed wine and beer.