From forgotten icon to global treat

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2020

The global ‘Don’t Mind if I Baileys’ campaign rescued the cream liqueur from cultural irrelevance and declining sales volumes, to become a modern and versatile treat for adults. Combining consistent semiotics for creative elements and greater use of shorter, digital media formats and content partnerships, the new approach also emphasised optimisation and learning mid-campaign. This paper outlines evidence that communications activity helped re-frame the brand and increase its usage. Between 2014-2019, global volume sales grew 32% and Baileys recovered 1.6 percentage points of global volume share.

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I would pick out five learnings that have changed the way I work: 1. Product and Purpose must meet. In 2015, when this journey began, finding a meaningful social purpose was the go-to solution for brands. Baileys chose to focus instead on the product truth as the source of its purpose. Baileys’ purpose to be ‘your co-conspirator in the pursuit of pleasure’ turned out to be more resonant for consumers than anything loftier. 2. Brands have an intrinsic meaning but you must find their modern cultural relevance. Highly distinctive brands can become encumbered by their truths. Are cream and sugar over? What is a liqueur anyway? Redefining Baileys as a treat opened our eyes to a world of indulgence, exciting sources of insight, new partners and endless inspiration. 3. The long and the short can be achieved in one communication. Baileys shows that with the right kind of communication, rooted in a clear product truth, you can both build long term memory structures and drive immediate purchase. 4.Too often measurement is seen as the enemy of magic when, in fact, it can release the magic. If a group of posts have higher engagement rates, find out why and make more content in that image. If a Social platform is performing particularly well, spend more money there. If pre-testing shows consistently strong or weak performance on a measure, resolve it. 5. Media is as important as creative. Short content (3”-20”), new platforms and rigorous M&E have multiplied the effectiveness of the work. We set out to find the consumer in their adult treat moment before we set out to create the work.

Jennifer English, Global Brand Director

Winners 2020

Silver Winner


From forgotten icon to global treat







Principal Authors

  • Jack Carrington - Mother
  • Neasa McGuinness - Mother
  • Venya Wijegoonewardene - Carat

Contributing Authors

  • Sheila Cunningham - Diageo
  • Andrew Deykin - Data2Decisions
  • Vicki Holgate - Diageo
  • Chantal da Fonseca - Kantar
  • Robin McGhee - Kantar
  • Mark Linford - VMLY&R
  • Philip Price - Carat
  • Katie Mackay-Sinclair - Mother

Credited Companies

  • -

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