The Anatomy of an Idea – Marketing Innovation

“Our vodka is made from grapes and we call it Cha-Cha.”

Some years later, Adrian headed up Diageo Brand Innovation in the US and we were looking for a premium vodka to compete with Grey Goose. “Remember Georgia?” I asked and he did, and Cîroc Grape Vodka was born.  We were looking to create a completely new type of vodka, and one made from grapes, not grain, fitted the bill.
One of my favourite ideas was one created out of absolutely nothing. The brief was to develop a “fighting” Scotch brand to compete in the lower reaches of the market. It had to be bog-standard Scotch, non-aged, in a standard bottle, with a standard label shape. The idea came from a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate on my kitchen table. Why not a Scotch with a purple label? The idea was mauled in research across Europe because Scotch doesn’t come in purple labels – precisely the point of the idea. It was eventually grabbed by a couple of entrepreneurs from Thailand who took it to two million cases. It was called Spey Royal.

An idea from outside the drinks industry was inspired by a visit to New York in 1974. I was sitting on my bed in the hotel watching television and saw an ad for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. In it, they extolled the virtues of A&H as a fridge deodoriser! You take a pack, open it, put it in the fridge and hey presto! No more kipper-flavoured milk.

1974 was a tough year, and I decided that it would be interesting to work up the Arm & Hammer idea, turn it into a specialist brand – not just a cardboard box – and see whether we could sell it to an interested client. Our resident designer, Bob Wagner, who incidentally designed the original Baileys pack, came up with the inspired idea of putting our magic ingredient into a blue egg which would fit into the egg compartment in the fridge. We didn’t manage to sell the idea, so did it for ourselves and it was successful enough to have been bought by Dylon a decade ago. And it is still around!

I would hope that all of these ideas were incredibly simple in essence and could be communicated in a very short paragraph to an intelligent and understanding client.

The so-called modern method of running several Chardonnay-fuelled workshops and brainstorming sessions invariably produces long lists of half-baked idle speculations. The best ideas are still individual responses.  db June 2006

One Response to “The Anatomy of an Idea – Marketing Innovation”

  1. Dilys Thomas says:

    Message for David Gluckman……please forward if possible!

    David, we are thinking of you while watching the cricket in Durban on the telly and wondering if you are there.
    I googled you and found this article.
    So here is a shot in the dark…….or at least from the Dorset wind and rain towards the South African sun.
    Dilys and Howard XX

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