August 12, 2020 Carolyn Harding

The world has watched as alcohol brands pivoted their marketing tactics throughout the pandemic – from transforming facilities to make hand sanitizer to launching at-home cocktail kits – in order to resonate with consumers and keep up with the surge in sales. Today, “business as usual” still seems like an unobtainable concept for many industries, causing several of the biggest alcohol brands to once again reinvent their marketing strategies to reflect today’s climate in America.

Anheuser-Busch Attracts Younger Audiences With A Virtual Music Festival Celebrating International Beer Day

Anheuser-Busch is settling into the possibility of a socially distant future, as demonstrated when they recently hosted a virtual beer festival in honor of International Beer Day. Utilizing multiple media channels – including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the InternationalBeerFest.org website – the virtual festival featured an inside look into Anheuser-Busch’s brewing process, live cocktail demonstrations, virtual taste tests, celebrity performances and more.

InternationalBeerFest.org Anheuser-Busch

According to MarketingDive, Anheuser-Busch’s festival was created in an effort to reach a younger demographic of consumers who are likely missing out on their scheduled music festivals this summer. The article explained, “By blanketing its programming across its social accounts, the brewer [Anheuser-Busch] can tell a more complete brand story while connecting with people who are heavy users of social media and are harder to reach through traditional channels like cable and broadcast TV.”

The idea of virtual events remaining a prominent alternative for the foreseeable future is a reality many brands are accepting, with a recent report revealing that “71% of media and marketing executives think virtual gatherings and conferences will be the only option for businesses through 2020.” The study also shared that the majority of marketing professionals anticipate some aspect of “virtual elements” when in-person events are allowed. Brand marketers that are accustomed to holding significant presences at large-scale events throughout the year will need to re-strategize how they can best establish their presences in a virtual world.

Jose Cuervo Tests Influencer Marketing Strategy Through Live YouTube Series

Jose Cuervo recently launched a weekly “Who’s Making Margs?” YouTube series, featuring a slew of livestream “parties” hosted by celebrity influencers. Each virtual event will spotlight an influencer sharing their personal margarita recipe (using Jose Cuervo tequila, of course) and different challenges for viewers to participate in while watching live. Throughout the five-week period, the tequila brand will have the chance to engage with consumers in an interactive way – and on a consistent basis – where many are still spending most of their time: at home.

Influencer marketing was forced to adjust at the start of the pandemic, as much of its selling power is reliant on promoting lifestyles so much of the world is unable to experience today. However, by tapping into popular influencers, artists and celebrities through a virtual initiative, Jose Cuervo is proving there is still hope for the world of influencer marketing, so long as brands can transition the tactic to reflect the state of the world audiences are currently living through.

Bud Light Pushes Ecommerce With Introduction Of Beer-Themed Clothing Line

Bud Light Beer-Themed Clothing Line

Bud Light has capitalized on consumers’ online shopping trends shown throughout the pandemic by launching a “limited-edition unisex streetwear line inspired by summer, Midwestern childhoods and American culture” in partnership with Darryl Brown of Midwest Kids clothing. Promoting the collection with the #MIDWESTBREWED hashtag, each Bud Light-themed clothing item is available on the beer brand’s ecommerce site.

With so many industries remaining on their toes in preparation for the evolving consumer trends as a result of the pandemic, Bud Light’s decision to branch out from its traditional beer offerings provides the brand with an alternate (though likely small) revenue driver and increased traffic to its website. The Bud Light clothing line also presents an opportunity for the beer brand to collect first-party data, as noted by John Faviano, AB InBev Director of Demand Management and Integrated Marketing Technology, who said the idea to produce merchandise gives the brand “the ability to develop deep data and insights about its loyal customers and then use this data for its marketing purposes.”

AB InBev Lends A Hand To Local Partners Through Social Advertisements

AB InBev recently collaborated with Tiger Pistol, a local social ad platform, in an effort to increase foot traffic and drive revenue for its local bar and restaurant partners that have struggled due to the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the industry. Calling the partnership a “bottom-up approach,” MarketingDive noted the tool allows each establishment that sells products from the AB InBev family to launch advertisements on their social channels in order to attract local consumers to local establishments during a time when business is understandably slow.

“We are partnering with Tiger Pistol to develop new tools that evolve how we market our brands and build relationships with our network of establishments — both in a time of crisis and in ordinary times,” said Gabriel Mello, AB InBev’s Global Vice President of Category Management and Trade Solutions.

According to a Datassential survey, 33% of restaurants admitted they need assistance updating customers on the status of their business operations, while 25% need “local operator collaboration” in order to increase traffic to their restaurants, making a partnership like AB InBev’s an ideal opportunity for establishments to promote clear messaging during a time when industries – like the restaurant industry – are changing on a daily basis.

As alcohol sales continue to grow and consumer behaviors evolve in tandem with the ongoing pandemic, the importance of alcohol brands evolving their marketing efforts is vital to their long-term success. By effectively differentiating themselves and staying ahead of the curve with engaging and relevant campaign strategies, alcohol marketers can thrive throughout the pandemic and beyond, while obtaining loyal customers and brand supporters.

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