The popularity of social media as a communications channel has lead to a whole new range of opportunities for virtually every brand and business sector. And while the alcohol industry does come with a higher level of regulation and restriction, there are several alcohol brands that have seen great success in social media marketing, utilizing creative and innovative approaches to spread the word about their products.
Vodka, in particular, has taken a huge leap forward lately, with its image shifting from "tastes like nothing" to high quality craftsmanship that's for everyone, which is popular amongst the younger, hipster crowd. Vodka brands have taken to social media in new ways to promote their individual image and up their market shares, and these new efforts are highly targeted towards earning the Millennial dollar - and it's common knowledge that Millennials tend to ignore traditional TV, radio and print ads, yet engage well on social media platforms.
According to Foodable Labs 21-to-34 year olds make up the biggest group of social media users who interact with liquor brands. Here's how five top vodka brands have worked their social media magic.
Pitbull and Fergie's Voli Vodka line took a different approach to the social media game. Working with social media agency Social Media 180, Voli Vodka created an interactive game on Facebook that rewarded players with an assortment of prizes, while at the same time educating participants about the product. The game focused on getting participants to move up a leaderboard in order to win the prizes. This in turn allowed the game to use Facebook's Achievement API to publish a post to the user's wall every time they advanced, spreading the word about the product from the inside out.
"We utilized the tools Facebook offered to our advantage," said Marc Preston, Social Media 180 CEO. "Once a user interacted with the game, that engagement automatically posted on the user's wall. And when that user's friends and followers saw Voli Vodka on their own news feeds, that created curiosity and brand awareness".
Absolut teamed up with Sid Lee and the band Empire of the Sun to launch a new campaign called "Absolut Nights", an online advertisement featuring never before heard tracks and using footage from "Absolut Nights" events around the world. This marketing effort was a huge success in showing people what the brand is all about.
Joao Ramirez, VP of Marketing said: "By infusing the unexpected into the ordinary, 'Absolut Nights' aims to inspire nightlife lovers to use the night as their canvas to explore what the future of nightlife looks like".
Using exclusive content and special events lead Absolut to huge successes in social media engagement, especially amongst Millennials.
"Exclusively for everyone" was the tagline the number one selling Smirnoff recently pushed. With so many vodka brands working to create an elite and exclusive product, Smirnoff's put its focus on being an inclusive offering instead.
And while TV ads have worked for Smirnoff in the past, the brand has found more recent success in their social-media driven events like the "Nightlife Exchange Project".
This project had groups from different countries pack up their ideal party and exchange it with another group. Naturally it made for a pretty successful social media campaign. Overall they know where they stand and are creating projects that engage huge amounts of people on a more personal level by offering an "epic house party" rather than exclusive VIP experiences.
While the major brands flock to the hipster, new age appeal of craftsmanship, Tito's has maintained its steady course. One of their social media efforts called "Meet the Maker" featured leather workers and sock designers that created exclusive Tito's merchandise. In addition to this, they've created massive followings on major networks like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. They use an in-house team of marketers that can deliver instant personal and human responses, differing from major brands that sometimes outsource. Tito's made its name by being a hand-made, craft vodka, and they're continuing with that same approach to their social channels.
A photo posted by Tito's Handmade Vodka (@titosvodka) on Dec 14, 2015 at 2:44pm PST
Always known for being innovative and creative SKYY Vodka is no different in the digital realm.
SKYY recently used Facebook to engage consumers in an art project to promote their Moscato grape infused vodka, the first of it's kind. People were able to submit their own images using #BePartoftheArt.
As the images were collected they were compiled into a giant mural up for display in New York City, then posted to SKYY's Facebook page, where each tag generated a $1 donation to charity.
The move to social media has made it easier than ever for brands to distinguish themselves, giving rise to new opportunities of engagement, selling and defining identities. In only a few short years brands have implemented many different strategies including games, contests, content and even exclusive music.
As Millennials continue to dominate spending, the social media efforts by vodka brands will only grow and become more innovative and interactive.