June 17, 2011 by rsadmin

Stuck Between the Liquor Cabinet and a Hard Place?

When it comes to alcohol brands in the world of marketing and public relations, getting creative is key. Throw traditional tactics out and mix together originality, inspiration, imagination and ingenuity, shake, stir and serve.

File:Contra G.jpg Source: Ritchyblack-Stefan Krause

This unique consumer category presents perks and challenges all of its own. Food and beverage brands are plenty and the over-saturated market promises challenges of media pick up, event attendance and consumer sales. Knowing the rules and regulations of the industry is key – for example, national broadcast stations can’t feature alcoholic beverages for the daytime or early evening news segments because often this is considered family programming.
Kahlúa liqueur was presented with the industry challenges noted above, but also with the goal of targeting a very specific audience – the suburban housewife. The solution? By aligning with key strategic partners – an interior designer and a celebrity entertainment expert – Kahlúa was able to create a visual dining table display using the brand’s “taste the exotic” campaign as inspiration and Kahlúa bottles as vase centerpieces. The campaign was very targeted to the brands demographic and the creative angle allowed for six news segments in major cities across the U.S. to be secured. To leverage this program further, the brand took this same concept to select regional department stores to offer tips for brides-to-be looking for classy and “everyday exotic” wedding table décor ideas.

Taking innovation one-step further, a Kahlúa-infuzed hair treatment was created in partnership with hair stylist to the stars, Kim Vo. By leveraging some of his A-list clientele such as Jenny McCarthy, Molly Shannon and Tara Reid to push this program to national entertainment media, placements were secured in everything from LA Daily News to BusinessWeek to EXTRA. Kahlúa also secured great testimonials to utilize throughout all marketing and consumer-facing communications.


Not every liquor brand is targeting Hollywood red carpets and the entertainment community, and the newest major vodka release from the creators of Grey Goose vodka is a great example. Handcrafted in small batches from organic winter wheat grown on an American family-owned and sustainably managed farm, American Harvest certified organic vodka is distilled and bottled by the oldest existing distillery in Idaho, Distilled Resources Inc., using water from aquifers deep beneath the Snake River plain.

To introduce the new spirit, American Harvest hosted a launch party at Boise hot spot Barbacoa, with guest speaker and native Idahoan Picabo Street to announce the vodka brand’s debut. Celebrating with a unique blend of Idaho’s industry representatives, influencers and potential consumers, the party led to media coverage and brand awareness, emphasizing the local connection and creating buzz to increase distribution and ultimately product sales to the consumer.

Similar to hard alcohol brands, wine and beer brands often present similar challenges and goals: brand recognition and increased consumer sales.

Cotes du Rhone, representing wineries throughout the Rhone Valley in France, was able to leverage a presence at U.S.-based French Film Festival, COLCOA, to create synergy between French cuisine, wineries and those who love all things French! The focus of the event was less on entertainment and more on the culture and local culinary accomplishments. Cotes du Rhone was able to establish great cross-promotional opportunities and relationships with local restaurants and bars to increase distribution with like-minded venues.

So on the bar menu for effective communications campaigns in the world of alcohol beverage brands:

  • know the target audience
  • take a chance with memorable and even quirky ideas that embrace the brand identity
  • build consumer buzz and maximize awareness in a way that makes the brand stand out on the shelf

Cheers to dreaming up big brand ideas over a great glass of Cab or a Skinny Girl Margarita!

- Samantha O'Lea

Tagged With: Consumer, Food & Beverage