The pandemic that raged across the globe these past 2 years wreaked havoc on many businesses; and the alcohol industry was no stranger to losses. In fact, statistics show that they were worse off than many other industries as advertising for alcohol brands in 2020 shrank nearly two times more than the overall ad market. Picking up from there, alcohol brands are now planning to amp up their marketing by investing more in influencer marketing.
Prior to COVID, brands used to come up with various witty campaigns, contests, and social media engagement posts, among many things, to stay connected to their audience. Now, they are looking to regain the same level of engagement. And according to a report, spending on alcohol advertisements could exceed the pre-pandemic peak by 2023.
Many big brands had used interactive influencer marketing campaigns to engage their audience during the pandemic, and even before. From Budweiser to Bira, let us have a look at how alcohol brands use influencer marketing to their advantage.
Tours and Engagements
Johnnie Walker India’s #RevibeTheNight campaign addressed those who missed their crew, their hangouts, and their favourite places during the lockdown. Collaborating with influencers like Divine, Lisa Mishra, and Ritviz, Johnnie Walker organized a ‘night to remember’ at La Roca Aerocity and Khar Social.
Back in 2017, Breezer India created a hype around a tour featuring Abish Mathew and Kenny Sebastian in which they visited cities all around India. The brand urged its users to buy tickets for the concerts by creating a buzz before the duo visited each city.
Collaborating and Launching Merchandises
Remember that stunt Budweiser pulled off on Messi’s 644th goal for Barcelona? No? Let us jog your memory. Budweiser, one of Messi’s prominent sponsors, celebrated his title of ‘the highest goal scorer for a single club’ by sending beers to every goalkeeper he had scored against. A fine example of a well-researched campaign, Budweiser also unleashed a couple of merchandise, including Messi murals (in Delhi and Mumbai) and special edition custom-designed Lionel Messi bottles, along with other things. On Twitter, Budweiser also prompted a walking tour featuring influencers like Sakshi Malik, Pryanca Talukdar, Jake Sitlani, and Nisha Yogini.
Some brands organized rewarding contests, while some collaborated with other brands to launch new merchandise. Some even repurposed their old content just to stay active for their audience. Click To Tweet
Curating Engaging Contest and Challenges
Budweiser aced when it came to contests and campaigns too. The brand ran its #WassupBudChallenge with Abish Mathew, Rohan Joshi, and Rahul Subramanian — well-known faces from AIB. The post asked users to grab a screenshot (or a recording) with a friend and post it on social media. The reward? Creative entries get to be featured on Budweiser’s official Instagram handle.
Creating Social Awareness
Brands also focused on creating awareness during the pandemic. While some emphasized social causes, some were COVID-centric. Royal Challengers Sports Drink batted for an innovative cause, using influencers like Harbhajan Singh, Veda Krishnamurthi, and Virendra Sehwag to promote the first mixed-gender cricket match. Royal Challengers also got its star players like Virat Kohli and AB DeVilliers, appreciating the efforts of frontline warriors during COVID.
Other Honorary Mentions
- Budweiser launched #RuleTheNew, a content library by influencers (Swati Bakshi, Viraj Ghelani – FilterCopy) who ‘show us how to rule the new normal’.
- Johnnie Walker India also collaborated with Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla during the wedding season.
- Black and White Scotch started an #EatSipShare campaign with the likes of Rohit Barmecha and Barkha Dutt. In this long-running hashtag, they also presented a food-cocktail pairing by Sarah Todd and Anahita Dhondy Bhandari, popular chefs from Australia and India respectively.
Brands have already been using influencer marketing to promote their product and ideas. In 2019, Royal Challengers Sports Drink did many campaigns targeting their audience city-wise. Their Gully Cricket campaigns (Cricket tips with Amol Parashar, No.1 Nagpur by Barkha Dutt) were on-point and helped RC connect to their audience.
During the lockdown, every IM campaign by alcohol brands had one common aim: to let their audience know they’re still here. Some brands organized rewarding contests, while some collaborated with other brands to launch new merchandise. Some even repurposed their old content just to stay active for their audience.
As social media is one of the best marketing platforms today, brands are aiming to increase their audience interaction through influencer marketing. Whether they’re going to continue on the examples mentioned above or start a creative new campaign altogether remains to be seen. However, as we advance, we can expect a further rise in influencer marketing for alcohol brands and, thus, a resulting rise in engagement.