Collaboration helped Diageo to “adapt at speed” to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the drinks giant’s Global Head of Digital Innovation, Benni Lickfett.

Filmed for MAD//Fest and AdsWizz’s ‘MAD//Fest Moments’ video series at MAD//Fest London last month, Lickfett said: “For everyone it was a really turbulent time. We had to partner with our customers, media and agencies to experiment, adapt at speed and ensure we’re focused on fixing the challenges in front of us.

“Our focus was on collaboration but we knew how hard it was for our trade customers, such as bars and restaurants. We had lots of programmes in place to help them, from financial support to digital tools and advice.”

Lickfett, who hosted a £20k Diageo digital commerce start-up pitch challenge at MAD//Fest London 2021, said brands should put the customer at the heart of new innovation: “There’s so much innovation happening everywhere. Change is accelerated. We want to partner with interesting disruptors to make sure we can crack it together.

“The key thing is to stay close to the consumer, make sure you understand how their lives are changing, and how you can remain relevant. Technology plays an important role in this,” he added.

Recorded live at MAD//Fest London 2021 - the first major in-person industry event to take place since the pandemic - MAD//Fest Moments provides a snapshot on the marketing priorities of leaders at brands including KFC, Gymshark, Klarna, Boots, Boots and Beavertown.

Produced in partnership with programmatic audio specialists AdsWizz and shot by Shootsta, the interview series will focus on how top brands have adapted to the pandemic, new innovation and growth opportunities.