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Alcohol Advertising: Spirits Brands Leverage Latest Celebrations To Connect With Target Audiences

March 11, 2021 Carolyn Harding

The most recent holidays and celebrations led many consumers to seek out ways to celebrate safely, while continuing to support causes and industries that matter to them. For spirits and alcohol brands like Jameson, Smirnoff and Absolut, celebratory moments pose key opportunities to reach consumers through strategic initiatives, partnerships, user generated content (UGC) initiatives, subscriber acquisition campaigns and more.

Jameson Pays Consumers Who Take PTO For St. Patrick’s Day

Jameson Irish Whiskey recently targeted all those consumers that have neglected their personal time off from work as a result of the pandemic (Marketing Dive reporter Chris Kelly revealed that “more than half of people in the country have not used their vacation time during the pandemic”) with its newest “St. Patrick’s Time Off” or “SPTO” campaign. Jameson announced that this St. Patrick’s Day, the brand would pay 1,000 lucky consumers $50 each when they take off from work on March 17. Consumers interested in entering the sweepstakes were asked to visit the JamesonSPTO.com landing page to enter for their #JamesonSPTO. Taking that promise one step further, the whiskey brand is donating $150,000 to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF), an “an advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers,” as well as an additional $50 on behalf of each winner.

The campaign included star-studded ads featuring comedians like Retta Sirleaf and Joe Lo Truglio, and ran across Hulu as well as a number of social platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Jameson also began selling branded merchandise, shared custom Zoom backgrounds, hosted a virtual concert and more.

Even as we approach the one-year mark of the pandemic, consumers’ newly formed habits are still very relevant today. Brands like Jameson that launch campaigns which effectively connect and resonate with audiences stuck at home, or industries (like restaurants) that are still struggling, have an opportunity to establish brand loyalty and awareness.

Smirnoff Aims To Connect With Women & Black-Owned Businesses In Newest Alcohol Advertising Partnership

On March 3, kicking off Women’s History Month, Smirnoff partnered with SideBarre, a Black women-owned fitness studio to launch a series of virtual workout classes. Led by the SideBarre founders, the new initiative from Smirnoff is said to be in support of the vodka brand’s “ongoing commitment to the Black community.” With the partnership, Smirnoff shared that it will donate $50,000 to Black Girl Ventures – an organization “dedicated to creating access to capital for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs.”

Smirnoff partnered with SideBarre

Following the workout classes, famous female powerhouse celebrities – including Laverne Cox and Megan Rapinoe – will host virtual happy hours with a professional mixologist sharing cocktail recipes, featuring Smirnoff’s newest product launch, the Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Lemon & Elderflower. “Through this program [the Smirnoff x SideBarre partnership], we want to take actions to highlight those in local communities making a difference in helping build a better, more equitable society. By working with some of our partners like Laverne Cox, we hope that we can help facilitate important conversations and inspire people at home to take the time to focus on self-care, while also supporting Black women-owned businesses in their own communities,” said Jennifer Holiday Hudson, Smirnoff’s North America brand leader.

Smirnoff and SideBarre created a custom landing page for the partnership initiative, providing details for consumers interested in signing up for the workout classes and spotlighting new Smirnoff products. “Over the last year, the home has become the center of wellbeing, and consumers now more than ever are looking to find at-home rituals that they can incorporate as part of their routines. With the new campaign, Smirnoff is hoping to provide consumers with fun experiences while supporting a charitable cause everyone can get behind,” Smirnoff shared in its official press release.

Absolut Encourages Consumers To Drink & Love Responsibly

Absolut spent Valentine’s Day 2021 promoting the importance of self-love and the need to drink and love responsibly. Through the campaign, “Drink Responsibly, #LoveResponsibly,” Absolut asked consumers “How do you love responsibly?” during a time when connecting with others – and yourself – can feel difficult. Encompassing all relationships (including romantic, friendships, familial and pet), Absolut encouraged consumers to publicly post their answers using the #LoveResponsibly hashtag and tagging the vodka brand in their response. The vodka brand is driving traffic to its custom landing page, which dives deeper into the importance of loving responsibility and shares stats on the relationship and alcohol-related trends that have emerged during the pandemic.

“We learned that one in five Americans have turned inwards and focused more self-love in the past year,” said Tad Greenough, Absolut’s global creative director. “We also learned that, for many people, love beyond a romantic partner has become more important in the past year, with people citing relationships with their children and their pets as greater sources of love.”  

Absolut also launched a new series of “influencer-led discussions” on Instagram Live, where celebrity hosts talk about emerging trends regarding relationship strains and how increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic has contributed to these challenges. The series was a direct result of a recent survey from Absolut, which revealed that consumers, specifically among Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X, “felt strain in their closest loving relationships over the past year.” The survey also shared that 25% of Millennials “noted that drinking more alcohol during the pandemic has created negative impacts on their relationship.”

To resonate with today’s consumer, spirits and alcohol brands are leveraging special occasions as key opportunities to acquire and retain customers. Strategic initiatives – including those rooted in digital strategies and partnerships that align with today’s most important causes – are helping alcohol brands establish strong brand awareness and loyalty.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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