THE BOOZE BIN
By Emily Valentine (@ebvalentine)
The month of December always brings back warm and fuzzy memories for me – making eggnog, wrapping presents and boozing … I mean … feasting with dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins.
But, for many, holiday activities are fraught with emotion. Entertaining, gift-giving and spending time with family can be comforting, exhilarating and rewarding … or laden with guilt and stress. From a booze brander’s perspective, this time of year is a promotional heyday. What better time to forge a lasting connection with consumers than when they are hurtling along an emotional roller coaster, searching frantically for something soothing to glom onto?
Consumer brands can make the most of holiday marketing by 1) understanding the seasonal sentiments of their target customer, and 2) tailoring messages to appeal to their needs and aspirations. At the end of the day, whether or not someone tosses your product into her holiday shopping cart depends entirely on what it can help her achieve.
Here are a few examples of beverage brands that have tapped into their customers’ emotional needs and are responding to them this holiday season:
- Clos du Bois apparently has found that its target customer wants to feel and/or appear effortlessly sophisticated when hosting a holiday party or giving holiday gifts. This fall, the California winery partnered with Banana Republic on limited edition wine bottles that appeal to the yuppie lifestyle aspirations of its target audience. Associating with an influential fashion brand builds Clos du Bois’ credibility among an image-conscious crowd, and bringing a limited number of the “designer wines” to market adds an air of exclusivity so buyers feel privileged and in-the-know.
- Whether they have a large network of family and friends or are more reclusive by nature, many people find comfort and satisfaction in connecting with others during the holiday season. Heineken is hitching onto this phenomenon of social psychology to enhance the link between its brand and “what’s truly important in our lives this season – our friendships.” The Dutch beer brand’s new Facebook application lets consumers use photos of their friends to make and share a Social Christmas Tree, spreading plenty of green cheer and buzz about the Heineken installation in the process.
- Okay, so Coca Cola isn’t exactly booze, but it is the preferred mixer for many rum and bourbon drinkers around the world … and, as the world’s most valuable brand, it’s always one we can learn from. This year, Coca Cola is piggybacking on the fact that many consumers want to feel like they’re doing good and giving back to the community during the holidays. In November, the megabrand transformed its iconic red can to arctic white in order to raise awareness and funds to protect the natural habitat of its brand mascot, the polar bear. I see this campaign as a win-win for all parties involved. Coke fans get to support the World Wildlife Fund while sipping their favorite beverage, and Coke marketers get to drive holiday sales while embedding their responsible citizen image into the minds of consumers. A number of die-hard Coke drinkers didn’t see it the same way as I did, however, and the brand has since tweaked its strategy in response.
These are just a few instances of smart holiday beverage branding. What others have you noticed?
Photos courtesy of Banana Republic, Heineken and Coca Cola.