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Making Spirits Bright: Digital Advertising Strategies Connect Alcohol Brands With Consumers This Holiday Season

November 24, 2020 Melissa Ledesma

Shutterstock_723869194 Christmas party cheerful young friends with champagne

During the most festive time of the year, many consumers are filled with joy, jubilation and spirits, quite literally. Alcohol consumption among adults typically increases during the holiday season as a result of many festivities and celebrations, along with seasonal stress and holiday blues. According to data from Alcohol.org, the number of consumers who have more than five drinks in a two-hour period climbs 11% on Thanksgiving and 18% during winter holidays compared to average consumption rates. And, based on data from The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, approximately 25% of the annual spirits industry’s profits result from sales achieved during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. 

As the pandemic persists into the holiday season, consumers are seeking creative ways to celebrate safely, and alcohol brands are battling for online and physical cart space. From hard seltzers to rum, alcohol brands Bacardi, Brown-Forman and Truly are launching digital advertising campaigns and leveraging digital strategies and platforms to connect with consumers this holiday season. 

Bacardi Launches UGC Campaign During Peak Holiday Season

Partnering with music artists Meek Mill, Leslie Grace and famed producer Boi-1d, Bacardi recently launched its latest advertising campaign. The “Conga Feat. You” campaign gives consumers the opportunity to submit vocal recordings and dance videos to win a spot in the official music video remake of the latin classic “Conga.” The reinvented music video and track will air the week of the Grammy Awards. According to a Bacardi press release, this first-ever Conga remake is expected to reintroduce Latin Pop to a modern audience and provide a platform for consumers to “share their authentic selves.” To enter, consumers can submit original content through a recording hub experience linked from the brand or partner Instagram pages or visit the landing page congafeatyou.com

With the user-generated content (UGC) contest running from November 20 to December 13th, the “Conga” campaign launch is timed perfectly to promote Bacardi to key audiences during the peak of the holiday season. According to Tatiana Walk-Morris of MarketingDive, the campaign is the rum brand’s latest effort to engage younger, multicultural adults and virtually bring people together

Truly Hard Seltzer Sends Essential Workers Home For The Holidays

The hard seltzer category has expanded quickly and competition continues to grow, highlighting the importance of market differentiation. To set itself apart from the competition, Truly Hard Seltzer has embraced social responsibility efforts which are helping it connect with consumers through empathy and authenticity. This month, Truly announced the “Truly Home Again” campaign, which will give essential workers and first responders free flights home on private aircraft this holiday season. 

Truly together for the holidays

Truly partnered with private aviation company Wheels Up to send essential workers round-trip to their destinations of choice with gifts of truly beverages and merchandise. According to Don Lane, vice president of marketing for Truly Hard Seltzer, the goal of the “Truly Home Again” is to reward customers and help them find holiday joy in big and small ways. Lane said, “We have been inspired by all of the people who have stepped up this year and are humbled to help bring a few essential workers home for the holidays so they can celebrate and make memories with friends and family.” Truly launched a dedicated landing page for its new campaign where consumers can submit a few sentences explaining why an essential worker or first respondent deserves to win the free trip home. The contest application also asks for the nominee’s favorite Truly flavor. On Twitter, consumers can nominate deserving essential workers by posting tweets using the #trulyhomeagain hashtag. 

Brown-Forman Reintroduces CheersToTheHost.Com As Digital Lifestyle Content Hub

In an effort to reach more shoppers online, spirit company Brown-Forman relaunched its website cheerstothehost.com to connect with target audiences. “Cheers to the Host” features recipes, in-home entertaining tips and decor ideas. Brown-Forman hopes to turn its new website into a digital lifestyle content hub for its brands, which include Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Finlandia and Korbel. Loren Catrambone, Brown-Forman's group manager of customer marketing for national accounts said, “Consumers’ new discovery zone is at home online. [Although], we've counted on bartenders and servers to introduce people to new varieties and drink options… Now, we need to give people a more comprehensive, inviting source of ideas and resources.” 

Alongside the launch of the new site, Brown-Forman also debuted the “Cheers to the Host” dedicated social presence, including a Pinterest page featuring special seasonal content and hosting advice and a Facebook chatbot called “Whiskey Whisperer” to answer consumer questions on all things whiskey. 

Digital Advertising Strategies Are A Key Ingredient For Alcohol Advertising 

Even before the kick-off of the holiday season, alcohol sales were experiencing a boost. Since March, alcohol consumption has risen across a variety of consumer audience segments. During the height of lockdowns this spring, alcohol purchases soared with profits heavily influenced by the accelerated rate of consumers buying alcohol online. As the global pandemic continued, many consumers sought reprieve, relief and entertainment – which may have sustained the increase in alcohol sales and consumption. 

Beer, wine and alcohol brands that continue to connect with consumers online are positioned for success heading into 2021. With the possibility of additional shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders this winter, alcohol brands who engage consumers digitally in Q4 2020 may reap the profits of brand loyalty as consumers hit the ecommerce shelves to stock up on spirits after the new year. 

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Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) creates people-based marketing campaigns based on highly defined audience profiles to attract the consumers with the greatest likelihood to convert. Using choreographed messaging, DMS can build your campaign with your choice of channels to attract new customers.

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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