December 19, 2019 Carolyn Harding

Over the years, we’ve seen more and more consumers seeking out brands that incorporate a balance of impact-on-society considerations and health-conscious products into their core business strategies. For alcohol brands in particular, marketers have had to adjust to a changing industry, as consumers focus less on the heavy consumption of alcohol and more on the importance of moderation.

Over the last two years, there has been an 85% increase in online discussions surrounding low‑ and no‑alcohol drinking and a drastic decrease in chatter about casual and heavy drinking occasions. As a result, the global nonalcoholic beverage market is expected to reach a record value of $1.7 trillion by 2024.

In honor of this latest shift in the alcohol industry, here are three alcohol brands that have positively interacted with their audiences and increased brand awareness through the perfect combinations of health-conscious, socially responsible social campaigns.

Guinness Introduces Clear Brew

In an effort to encourage responsible drinking, Guinness launched “Guinness Clear,” a tongue-in-cheek product that reminds consumers to moderate their alcohol intake. In the playful commercial from the famous beer brand, drinkers are urged to knock back a classic Guinness pint glass. But, there’s a catch. This pint doesn’t contain the famous brew. Instead, customers are hydrating with Guinness Clear, AKA good old H2O, while catchy phrases like “make it a night you’ll remember” and “sometimes less is more” flash across the screen.

Guinness paired the light-hearted commercial with a social media campaign using the hashtag #GuinnessClear. Guinness also upped their presence at rugby stadiums, including branded water and a team of Guinness representatives passing out water to fans, strategically coinciding with the Six Nations Rugby tournament.

“At Guinness, responsible drinking is something we take very seriously,” said Mark Sandys, Global Head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff at Diageo. “With the launch of Guinness Six Nations, we wanted to ensure we delivered this important message to sports fans in a compelling way, and so Guinness Clear was born. We think the light-hearted approach delivered through our Guinness Clear product launch will drive conversation and put responsible drinking to front of mind throughout the Guinness Six Nations and beyond.”

Needless to say, Guinness successfully repackaged plain old tap water and launched it as an exciting new product, while promoting a healthy habit for consumers.

Heineken’s Take On Dry January

To mark the arrival of “Dry January” – the viral challenge in which one refrains from drinking any alcohol to kick off the first month of the new year – Heineken’s 0.0 brand introduced a special 31-can “Dry Pack” (one for every day of the month) of its alcohol-free beer. The best part? Each limited-edition pack will be available for free and offered through a custom Heineken website, set to go live on December 27th.

The January Dry Pack MediaPost Heineken

“With Heineken 0.0, we’re able to bring Dry January to life in a fun, playful way as we provide a beer solution to fulfill New Year’s resolutions,” said Ashleigh Phelps, Heineken Brand Manager.

For those looking to kick off 2020 completely alcohol-free after an overindulging holiday season, but still while enjoying the taste of beer, Heineken has come up with the perfect solution.

“We’re helping sober-curious consumers explore alcohol-free options in a way that feels positive and rewarding,” Phelps added.

Heineken’s Dry January campaign isn’t the first time the beer brand has promoted the benefits of its alcohol-free product. During the most recent U.S Open, Heineken launched “The Perfect Serve,” an interactive campaign which offered free samples of Heineken 0.0 to fans participating in a star-studded competition for a chance to win tickets to the Open. Heineken’s “National First Responders Day” campaign distributed 0.0 beers to first responders, while its “Bring Your Beer to Work Day” campaign aired a commercial filled with stars from the hit TV-series “The Office” invading a real-life office and giving away bottles of 0.0.

“We’re always trying to bring the beer into unexpected places where you wouldn’t ordinarily believe a beer would go,” said Eric Husband, Fast Horse’s Integrated Creative Director.

Ambev Alters Product Logos

Changing the logo on a familiar product has a history of getting a strong reaction from consumers. For Ambev, a major shift in their well-known packaging was created in an effort to start an important discussion.

Drink Responsibly Muse Ambev Alters Product Logos

Shining a light on the disorienting effects of drinking and the dangers of drinking and driving, Ambev scrambled the letters in the logos of their popular beer brands, including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona.

The modified logos were displayed in print, digital and outdoor advertisements, on stadium signage during major sporting events, on actual beer bottles inside bars and within the social media accounts of each beer brand. Consumers immediately noticed what many thought to be a terrible spelling mistake, which only resulted in more social sharing. Ambev then revealed the actual purpose of the campaign, specifically using social influencers to talk about the mistakes on the labels and the importance of drinking responsibly.

“It’s natural over the years that smart drinking campaigns, like all others, need to be reinvented in order to capture attention and create real change in behavior,” said Alexandre Costa, Ambev Marketing Director. “Therefore, we thought it was time to go one step further and use the strength of all our main brands for a single purpose — to warn that alcohol consumption should never be associated with driving.”

The results of the multichannel Ambev campaign speak for themselves:

  • Google searches increased in the first 24 hours by 1,550%
  • 619,000 social interactions within the first 48 hours
  • Brand engagement rose 15.6%
  • 157 million impressions overall

Guinness, Heineken and Ambev are just a handful of examples of alcohol brands that have effectively incorporated three relevant trends into their marketing campaigns: the increase in the nonalcoholic beverage market, the overall cultural shift toward wellness and consumers’ growing desire for brands that showcase social responsibility through brand initiatives.

“As health and wellness are on the mind of the consumer, more and more things that are attached to it, such as low-alcohol and no-alcohol products and consumption, tend to rise with it,” said Devon Bergman, CEO of Social Standards, a consumer analytics company.

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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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