Leading liquor brands and ambassadors come together for annual Blackjack Promotions training roadshow


This week, Blackjack (a division of ABM) hosted 18 liquor brands in their recently opened Centre of Excellence in Drayton. The brands joined forces to share their travel retail knowledge and messaging with the Blackjack Promotions brand ambassadors.

During the day, Blackjack staff had the opportunity to move around the brand spaces to learn more about the brands’ 2020 travel retail marketing plans and new products, as well as meet the people behind them.

More than 60 Blackjack delegates from airports across the country met with teams from Moet Hennessy, Accolade Wines, Bacardi, Proximo Spirits and Diageo, to mention just a few.

Claire Brockwitz, Travel Retail at Brown Forman, said: “We have worked with Blackjack for many years now with ambassadors placed across Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. We always look forward to the roadshow as it allows us to connect with these representatives, put names to faces and update them on new directives and products”.

Rupert Firbank, Commercial Director, Global Travel Retail for Accolade Wines, said: “With wine being a very fragmented category, Accolade Wines puts a lot of value on being able to inform passengers about what we have on offer and to make sure that we are recommending wines that will suit them. Being able to deliver training to our partner Blackjack is a key part of delivering that customer engagement. We know that the more people learn about wines the more engaged they become and consequently the more they buy. From the point of view of Blackjack brand ambassadors, the more they know, the more confident and convincing they can be when selling our wines.”

With their product line currently undergoing a rebrand set for completion in June, Millie Forster, UK Trade Marketing and Events Manager at  The Lakes Distillery’s says:  “As a growing brand, we don’t always have the capacity to get around to all of the airports and retail sites where our products are stocked as often as we would like. This roadshow makes it much easier to get everyone together, and I think this consistency has a knock-on effect with staff retention, as brand ambassadors know they are trusted, invested in through training, and are an integral part to our success.”

Florencia Schuab has been a Blackjack brand ambassador at Heathrow for almost a year, attending the previous liquor roadshow at the company’s head office. Speaking about the opportunity to attend the training event in its new home she said, “In the Centre you have the space to sit down with brands without interruption. As the customer-facing staff, it’s a great opportunity to feedback common questions we are asked on the shop floor so that we can offer even better service and product knowledge. It’s also a nice opportunity to catch up with my brand ambassador colleagues!”

Oli Perl at Jose Cuervo, part of the Proximo Spirits group, called the roadshow a “Genius idea, especially as the new building offers us a dedicated training space where brand ambassadors can circulate in small groups and get quality time with the liquor brands. Ambassadors get such a brief time with customers in the airport, we want to make sure they have lots of interesting points they can share to keep them engaged – especially for a category like tequila that shoppers tend to know less about. Customers are increasingly concerned about a brand’s origin, authenticity and ethics, so backing up product knowledge with brand context is an important thing for us to discuss.”

Blackjack’s Centre of Excellence houses five rooms of flexible training space, as well as housing a 15,000 sq/ft distribution centre. Halewood Wines and Spirits was one of the liquor brands present at the roadshow that also use the centre in their travel retail logistics.  Halewood Wines & Spirits, Head of Global Travel Retail Europe, Eamon Prunty said “I have worked with Blackjack for nearly three years and we have integrated bespoke ambassador training during that time, so I am not a newcomer to this initiative. However, today I have been extremely encouraged by the enthusiasm of these people who on a day-to-day basis are out there representing my brand. This is also an amazing opportunity to introduce them to the two new Whitley Neill flavours we are launching across Dufry UK in the coming months. One of which, Whitley Neill Gooseberry is a Dufry UK Exclusive in GTR.”

The Centre of Excellence will have an official ‘digital’ launch event on March 4th. Blackjack will release a video giving an in-depth and guided tour of the training spaces and facilities, and the logistics warehouse. If you would like to be sent the link to view this on launch day, please register your name with Lucy, lucy@klpr.biz