Profile: Facing the Music - John Mills, Managing Director, Gaymer Cider Company

Marketing, July 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

Profile: Facing the Music - John Mills, Managing Director, Gaymer Cider Company


He may be hitting 50 this autumn, but Gaymer Cider Company's John Mills is still getting down with the kids. Last month, he was hanging out with moshers at the Download festival, while last weekend was spent at Glastonbury.

'They look like they've come from another planet, but they are some of the nicest people in the world,' says Mills on the music fans he met at the metal-oriented event Download.

All this supports a pounds 4m music marketing programme which links Gaymers to most of the summer's major festivals. It is the official cider of Glastonbury and is running brand experience zones at The O2 Wireless Festival, Rock Ness and Lovebox Weekender. It also has pouring rights at a number of events, including the Reading and Leeds festivals, and ties with indoor gigs, as Mills has negotiated an exclusive deal with Live Nation venues including London's Astoria, Manchester's Apollo and the Barfly chain.

In May, Gaymers also launched a programme of Grassroots Gigs, at which hip indie bands including The Futureheads and Young Knives returned to their home towns to perform exclusive gigs to small crowds in intimate venues. Tickets were available to consumers only via competitions and online through the brand's dedicated music website, gaymersmusic.com.

Mills is an intense character who exudes passion for his cider brands. 'It's a fantastic liquid. If people taste it, they will buy it,' he says.

He is also convinced that a music-centric strategy is the right one for Gaymers. It was a decision inspired by two incidents. The first was the arrival of consumer research results that highlighted a huge interest in music among the brand's target audience of 18- to 30-year-olds, leading the company to devise ways in which this could be exploited. The second was a fortuitous dinner date.

'Just by coincidence, I happened to have dinner with (Glastonbury organiser) Michael Eavis. We both knew of each other, but had never met,' says Mills. The pair hit it off, and the dinner ended with a suggestion by Eavis that, as the company is based so close to Glastonbury (its cider mill is in Shepton Mallet), the two should work together. From this emerged a three-year pouring-rights contract. …

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