Alcohol Brand Activations in 2023: A Strong Serve of Engagement 

Educational

  • Tamara Olori
  • 6 February 2024
  • 4 Min Read

In 2023, the alcohol industry continued to ride the wave of engagement that innovative brand activations and celebrity endorsements are proven to generate. Perhaps the most prolific and high-profile was Ryan Reynolds, whose hit show Welcome to Wrexham on Disney Plus managed to seamlessly incorporate his own gin brand Aviation Gin into a hit show about a struggling football team in Wales.  This unexpected partnership has sparked conversations and garnered attention for its unconventional approach to connecting with consumers. 

This standout multi-platformed campaign puts Ryan Reynolds; Deadpool, The Proposal, (and Rob McElhenney; Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mythic Quest) as central figures in an immersive experience that transcends both advertising and sports sponsorship. The campaign ingeniously brings an array of people together, including celebrity friends and family, football fans, anyone who likes sports shows or documentaries where the underdog prevails and pretty much the whole of Wales, emphasising a commitment to fostering unity and shared moments. This means that the exposure the brand is getting is not just social media followers or a singular group of fans, it transcends traditional channels, incorporating TV audiences, authentic entertainment and utilising the power of celebrity endorsement in an entirely new way. 

As part of this ground-breaking campaign, Ryan and Rob feature in a prime position in the series that is a hit not only on television but also across social accounts that have a widespread and impactful reach. 

The Evolution of Alcohol Experiential Marketing 

In the evolving landscape of alcohol brand activations, Dos Hombres Mezcal exemplifies the shift toward collaborative, cross-platform marketing. Recognising the need to go beyond conventional strategies, the brand is owned and promoted by Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, capitalising on the synergy between the show’s setting and the origins of the drink. Regina Hall’s viral collaboration with Jameson Whisky saw her call for people to take a day off to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in a campaign that elegantly incorporated humour, a day of drinking and a website that gave consumers a chance to create a ‘desktop decoy’ for $17.80, with profits donated to the Restaurant Workers Community Fund.  These creative, enjoyable campaigns that combine celebrity reach with humour, relevance and CSR are becoming more sophisticated and in demand. The collaborations are mutually beneficial; brands build recognition and visibility while the celebrity can expect high profits and credibility.  

The demonstrable success of this approach means that experiential marketing has come to be expected in a rapidly expanding marketplace predicted by Statista to be worth more than $2.2 trillion by 2025. 

Navigating the Challenges of Contemporary Alcohol Brand Marketing 

Amidst an ever-changing landscape, alcohol brands face challenges in catering to the preferences of younger consumers, particularly those looking for non-alcoholic drinks that still satisfy a feeling of indulgence and inclusion. This has prompted brands to explore innovative avenues, such as the rising popularity of no or low-alcohol beers, lagers, and IPAs, creating new and exciting opportunities for industry players. 

Lucky Saint founder, Luke Boase, told The Challenger Project about opening a pub to celebrate and showcase the alcohol-free lager “First and foremost, the pub is the whole building. So it’s our head office, it’s a home for our team, and where we build culture. Secondly, it’s a physical manifestation of what the brand stands for; somewhere where consumers can come in and experience the brand.” 

As the industry continues to evolve, alcohol brands must remain agile and inventive, embracing new strategies that resonate with the dynamic preferences of today’s consumers. In this era of constant change, the ability to adapt and deliver unique, immersive experiences will undoubtedly define the success of alcohol brand activations in 2024. 

Conclusion: Redefining Connection in the Alcohol Industry 

In the wake of recent developments, the alcohol industry is witnessing a paradigm shift in brand activations. The collaboration between Snoop Dog and 19 Crimes wine serves as a testament to the industry’s commitment to innovation, engagement, and creating meaningful connections with consumers, in an interview with CNN Travel, Snoop Dog said: “I didn’t grow up a wine drinker. Wine was foreign to me in my neighbourhood.” As brands continue to explore uncharted territories, the stage is set for a new era of alcohol experiential marketing that goes beyond expectations and fosters genuine connections through humour, education and social responsibility. 

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