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#MARKiesAwards 2021 highlight: Baileys hits the sweet spot with fans via festive treat book

#MARKiesAwards 2021 highlight: Baileys hits the sweet spot with fans via festive treat book

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How far would you go to defend your title as champion of festive seasons? Diageo, Baileys' parent company, made Christmas come a whole month early to ensure it did not lose its "special status". With more consumers experimenting in the kitchen as a result of the lockdown, Diageo and PHD saw this as a great opportunity to introduce Baileys as one of the ingredients to use when baking treats. Find out how the brand swept judges off their feet to clinch the gold award for Most Effective Use – Consumer Insight and Market Research at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's MARKies Awards 2021.


According to Google Trends, consumers were engaging in indulgent behaviour earlier in the year than usual due to the circuit breaker lockdown in 2020. The Diageo-owned cream-based liqueur therefore feared losing its special status during the Christmas festive period when it had always seen the highest consumption.

As a result, in the lead up to the 2020 festive period, Baileys needed a fresh approach that would signal to consumers that festive treating was still the most important time to treat, while also helping to position Baileys as the ultimate festive treat and drive brand growth.  

The brand observed that there was a rising trend of consumers experimenting in the kitchen, and attributed it to the restlessness of consumers who were restricted to their small living spaces. 

However, while treating behaviour usually emerged around the Christmas period, the brand discovered that the lockdown brought forward indulgent behaviour by six months. Therefore, Baileys said that it was faced with the challenge of losing its “special” status when the festive period was to come around due to the treat quota (how much consumers allow themselves to indulge) being filled early. 

Wanting to establish Baileys as a core ingredient to stepping up indulgent Christmas treats, the brand said that it leveraged the trend of increased experimentation in the kitchen and introduced “The Baileys Festive Treat Book”. 


While previously relying on competitor signals to decide when to start its promotional advertising, with the insight of the changed treating behaviour, the brand said that it needed a way to be ahead of its competition and get consumers to consider Baileys as the festive period came. It found that the season started in November through historical search signals and decided for its campaign to span across November to December. 

The brand said that it implemented a two-pronged approach to bring “The Baileys Festive Treat Book” idea to life. It first tapped into ATL “treating moments”, disrupting the existing treating behaviour in the online space and introducing consumers to Baileys’ festive desserts. It then tapped into the “treating experience”, which saw media driving consumers to a branded pop-up treat bar (in an exclusive partnership with Apiary) where they could create their own Baileys inspired treat. 

The brand said that it was in the second prong that Baileys was able to play the “integrator” role between Baileys’ marketing and consumers teams. The brand also said that this helped to understand the campaign’s opportunity across ATL and BTL, creating a 360-degree approach.

According to Baileys, it leveraged on four key festive planning principles - establishing the presence of Baileys at the start of the season based on sales, building high pre-season awareness of Baileys festive desserts ahead of the treating season, maximising the weekly reach of Baileys’ messaging across the season and finishing strong on point of sale (POS) to drive the purchase of Baileys in-store and online. 

According to the company, natural seasonality was a stronger determinant of ROI than advertising, therefore looked into when the season starts based on the buyer’s behaviours, instead of its competitors. It added that it ensured high awareness levels before the season begins by running continuous brand activity pre-season. 

The company needed to ensure Baileys' visibility at any opportunity for consideration and purchase during the campaign period, with a goal to maximise weekly reach in the lead up to the key sales period. It said that it wanted to ensure its activity was rich with POS and footfall driving media to capitalise on an increasing in-market audience in the period leading up to peak sales. 

Thus, the brand opted for video as its primary media channel. Baileys said that it utilised a combination of programmatic video, Facebook and YouTube, measured on efficiency metrics of impressions and completed video views during November. This was to ensure maximum awareness of its video assets. The brand then retargeted video viewers with programmatic display and Facebook, and drive consumers to online sales, to keep the engagement going into December.

The brand added that as its idea mirrored a recipe book, it had to have more than one recipe. It then leveraged search volume insights with Google Keyword Planner and understood the volume of consumers in specific contexts online. Using targeting and insight solutions software Semasio, it found that recommended chocolate and coffee were most likely to resonate with consumers. It thus recommended those as its “hero” recipes. Baileys added that it also suggested testing other treat options to give more breadth to its “Festive Treat Book” idea.


During the pre-season phase in November, the brand released a video-heavy burst of activity to disrupt consumers’ existing treating behaviour with Bailey’s Festive Treats. Done together with PHD Singapore, It ran programmatic media for distribution, and on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for presence in high dwell environments.

Within its programmatic video buy, the brand opted for in-feed video formats across video vendors, Teads and Kargo, and Diageo’s approved site list targeting those above 18. 

Baileys said that it utilised the “video views” feature in the Facebook platform to ensure the activity was optimised to maximum views and completion with ThruPlay. The company also said that it ran an A/B test in parallel to understand receptiveness towards eight seconds and 15 seconds. This allowed the brand to gain insights on the performance of the video durations that had been created. 

Baileys also ran non-skippable formats on YouTube via Instant Reserve to navigate the limited, Diageo-approved channel list. The brand said this was to drive scale and increase completion rates. 

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In December, the key period for sales generation, the brand leveraged on the momentum created in November to drive people to purchase and recreate the Baileys treats at home.

According to the company, it utilised channels such as Facebook and Instagram, and programmatic, serving across both desktop and mobile screens. The brand added that these channels retargeted consumers who had previously interacted with the video content. The consumers were then directed to the brand’s eCommerce partners, Cellarbration and Cold Storage to encourage purchase.

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The brand said that its ATL offline pop-up treat bar experience also launched simultaneously. Baileys added that an additional asset announcing the pop-up and encouraging footfall was added to the Facebook activity. Run using the reach objective, the company said that the asset served as an announcement and a reminder for its audience to visit the experience and indulge in limited edition Baileys treats.

Baileys said that its consumer team invited 48 media personnel and influencers for a preview and encouraged them to share their experience via their own social channels. The brand said that this was to increase buzz of the pop-up before opening up the treat bar to the public. 


The brand said that it managed to deliver approximately 25% over the planned volume of impressions for the treat video content in its pre-season impression and generate about 1.2 million completed video views across all assets. The brand added that the Cold Storage eCommerce landing page saw an increase by about 80% and its pop-up treat bar generated about 90% more impressions than expected. 

According to Baileys, the activity at the pop-up treat bar generated about 15 million impressions from the invited media and influencers, with an estimated value of SG$210,000. The brand also added that in terms of owned media and UGC, its created content managed to achieve an estimated impression volume of 100,000 impressions. The company also said that approximately eight to 15,000 customers visited the pop-up experience and indulged in Baileys treat, surpassing Diageo’s sampling targets. 

The “Baileys Festive Treat Book” campaign was thus able to refresh the festive treating experience, as Singapore consumers indulged in Baileys as their ultimate festive treat.


Photo courtesy: 123RF

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