Meaningful alcohol marketing isn’t just for Christmas
POP. Wahey. It’s nearly time to crack open the Champagne. The festive season is yet again upon us and with that comes a barrage of alcohol advertising encouraging us to stock up the cupboards for all eventualities…whether this be plying Nana with Port to keep her quiet on Christmas Day or just providing some fizz for the toast at lunch.
But, like drinking with Nana on Christmas Day, working in alcohol marketing can be fun but often also challenging.
On the one hand you have stringent regulations constantly under the media spotlight – recently new minimum pricing rules were introduced. On the other, finding a unique consumer insight or idea in such a cluttered category is arguably tougher than in any other.
This is where I believe a more meaningful approach could pay dividends by offering a point of difference and a new way to discovering that killer insight. Finding a meaningful purpose will work as a springboard for distinctive and relevant communication but also protect against the ever tightening belt of regulation.
But, no doubt you are already asking yourself whether alcohol brands can be meaningful?
Certainly from an intellectual or ‘in the know’ point of view, alcohol brands can help drinkers feel smarter culturally – giving them social kudos with their peers.
Inspiring curious drinkers with new ideas, events and experiences is a rich territory that several brands exploit. One of my favourite is Jameson and their Cult Film Club. Jameson stage cult films in spectacular settings fueling trial, credibility and social chatter.
We are busy building meaning for another brand with heritage, namely Disaronno, a recent addition to the fold in this territory…keep your eyes open next year.
Many other brands are exploiting social context, helping drinkers build relationships with others through events – either created entirely by brands, such as the global Smirnoff Night Life Exchange or through event sponsorships.
Many pinpoint social meaning via specific occasions, such as Guinness and St Patrick’s Day or Bombardier and St Georges Day.
This trend was large in the Jubilee & Olympic year and we predict that themed occasions are likely to grow, especially in on-trade. Clearly, these opportunities provide the chance for clear meaning but rarely give all year round presence.
Brands can also positively affect their consumers’ lives for the better by helping make busy, sociable drinkers lives easier, giving them something of genuine value. We achieved this through some work we did for Miller Genuine Draft.
We created a ‘Miller Time App’, working in partnership with Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter – where we created the concept of a “future” check in, in order to visualise real time information about where the action was taking place across their city.
With one click of a button and a swipe on a smartphone, users could see what the top trending bars were in their city and more importantly whether their friends were planning to be there that night.
Also, while most of them (or the holding companies, at least) contribute to charity and CSR schemes behind the scenes, very few have openly linked with charities to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way.
There is a clear link between alcohol and numerous charities, but there is also a clear link between generosity and drinking, surely this is a meaningful territory that could be exploited further if done so sensitively?
It is clear that booze brands are employing meaningful strategies in their marketing plans but there is scope to do so much more. Yes, it might be a challenge but like the addition of Gin to Nana, adding meaningfulness to alcohol marketing can have entertaining and ultimately satisfying results that would otherwise not come to bear.