By Ally Burnie

New research out of the UK from Red Brick Road and Opinium has revealed Gen Z (18- to 25-year-olds) have a radically different relationship with alcohol than older generations, and as a result, alcohol brands need to change their marketing strategies.

The Last Round?, a study into Gen Z’s attitudes towards alcohol revealed stark divides in attitudes towards alcohol between Gen Z and older generations in the UK.

A few key trends from the research showed the changes in attitude come down to: performance over partying, holistic health awareness, prioritising savouring drinks over alcohol percentage and the rise of stay-at-home socialising.

According to the study, 75 per cent of Gen Z feel it’s important to be in control of all aspects of their life at all times.

In an increasingly competitive world, they view a hangover and sloppy social media presence as a competitive disadvantage.

Mental health is also just as important as physical health for Gen Z, with 83 per cent feeling drinking alcohol is a risky activity.

In line with their rejection of binge-drinking and embracing quality over quantity, Gen Z prefer savouring their drinks rather than getting drunk on cheaper alternatives, with bar managers reporting a 72 per cent increase in the consumption of premium drinks over the last five years.

And, with the rise of stay-in socialising, 91 per cent of bar managers say it is important for their bars to offer an experience that cannot be replicated at home, with Gen Zs preferring to socialise in the comfort of their home.

In light of these findings, alcohol brands need to change their marketing tactics and evolve their strategies if they want attract Gen Z.

According to Campaign UK, Marketing director of Jägermeister Nicole Goodwin said: “Jägermeister is a lifestyle brand whose DNA is rooted in its distinctive irreverent nature and long-time music associations.

“Our Ice Cold Shot and botanical cocktail serve strategy, designed and delivered by expert bartenders, resonate with our youth audience, who value premium drinking experiences and brands with heritage”.

She added the brand is focusing on its festival and live-music activations as “these help us build and retain brand love with a generation that value experiences over ‘things’”.

Stryyk, a non-alcoholic spirits company, founder and chief executive  Alex Carlton said his products are meeting two needs: “The big two in my mind are the ability to have a grown-up drink with zero alcohol – one that is not a tonic water or elderflower, sugary-type concoction [and] secondly there have been a number of studies released detailing how people feel self-conscious if they are not drinking with their peers and friends.

“It is considered quite anti-social, so drinking a zero-proof spirit ensures people remain included and firmly part of the moment”.

Carlton believes marketers who want to engage with a younger audience needs to market with them and not to them.

He said: “Understand it’s a two-way conversation, so be engaging but with authenticity and keeping it real and don’t bull shit them.

“Respect their privacy – they are more private and less collaborative than millennials (apparently) – we need to understand their values and tap into them”.

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