Diageo introduces inclusive design training for marketers

26 Oct 2022 | Press release
Jeremy Lindley at Diageo 1HQ

Diageo has today announced the launch of a new inclusive design training programme for its marketers to drive further inclusivity across its products, advertising campaigns, physical brand experiences, and the wider design and creative industry.

Developed in partnership with leading design, brand, and semiotics experts, the training builds marketers understanding of inclusive design principles and empowers them with the knowledge of how to remove unconscious bias from the design process and celebrate the individual and cultural differences of the consumers they are designing for.

Throughout the next 12 months, all 1,200 employees across Diageo’s Marketing and Innovation teams will complete the training before it is rolled out to Diageo’s agency teams across the world.

Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director at Diageo, said: “Whether it’s a photoshoot, social media campaign, product, or visitor attraction, inclusivity must sit at the heart of the design process. Our new training gives our marketers the knowledge, tools, and best-practice examples to design in ways that celebrate our consumers’ physical, mental and culture differences and make our brands accessible and relatable to everyone.”

Johnnie Walker Princes Street

Diageo is also committed to driving more diversity in the design and creative industry. Today in the UK, just 17% of Creative Directors are women[1] and 12% of the creative workforce are from lower socio-economic groups[2].  For the second year running, Diageo, together with Google and Adidas, is sponsoring D&AD Shift in London and New York, a free night school programme for new creatives who do not have a university degree. In 2022, 76% from the New York cohort went on to secure employment (16 out of 21 students).

Jeremy continued: “Our vision for inclusive design is to unlock an explosion of creativity not only with our own brands but within the wider industry. We’re learning every day and by empowering our marketing teams to challenge how they’ve traditionally approached design – from a deeper understanding of the end-user to how they commission a designer – we hope to bring us all closer to a more tolerant and inclusive world.”

Over the last 12 months, Diageo’s commitment to inclusive design has seen a partnership with disabled access charity, Euan’s Guide, to ensure an accessible and inclusive environment at the new Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Inclusive Design principles were incorporated into the building’s design by the architects from day one, including the installation of a Changing Places toilet for disabled visitors who are unable to use conventional accessible toilets, and the multi-sensory visitor experience was curated with apparent and non-apparent disabilities in mind. For the new Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind in Mexico, the brand team commissioned an artist from Mexico City to ensure the local culture authentically came alive in the launch campaign and packaging design.

Today’s announcement builds on Diageo’s Progressive Marketing commitment which, set out five years ago, aims to create an advertising and media environment where, from script to screen, everyone sees themselves represented. In the last 12 months:

  • 45% of Diageo’s global marketing campaigns were shot by a female director or photographer including Don Julio’s 80th anniversary campaign in partnership with TIME.com, Smirnoff’s 21 Diamonds campaign, and Guinness Ireland’s It’s a Lovely Day for a Guinness advert.
  • Diageo’s advertising regularly outperformed industry benchmarks in the portrayal of characters in a respectful manner and as positive role models according to Kantar research amongst consumers.
  • Diageo continued to invest in platforms and publishers to make mainstream media more diverse and inclusive as part of its multi-million-pound global programme, including a Guinness partnership with The Sun to co-create an 8-page Women’s Six Nations Championship Guide to inspire the publication’s 8 million sports fans to support women’s rugby.


[1] Kerning the Gap https://www.kerningthegap.com/about

[2] Creative Mentor Network, https://www.creativementornetwork.org/press