Advertising Alcohol with OOH Today

Most of us can agree that the first backyard hangout post-lockdown with friends would not be complete without sipping on an ice-cold vodka soda. Why is this? Why are malt beverages, hard seltzers, and coolers so popular right now? Because their branding is fresh, it’s playful, it’s new, and it’s working – especially among younger consumers. The hard seltzer company, White Claw, is projected to surpass 1.5 billion dollars this year with a large part due to its popularity on social media and its out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Due to the global pandemic, trying a new, exciting, and trendy alcoholic beverage is one of the few pleasures we currently have. And the way in which these beverage companies are branding themselves, more recently leveraging OOH, are exactly what will drive their businesses forward.

Follow the trends

Being a consumer today is exhausting because there are so many different types of flavours, mixtures, and brands of alcohol available to try. What makes it a heck of a lot easier is when alcohol companies brand their beverages in a way that is enticing and exciting. A part of the process of creating advertisements that attract a targeted audience is understanding consumer trends, especially among the younger generation who seem to set the tone for brand popularity. One Billboard Insider article suggests that brands that offer healthier, low-cal options may appeal to new audiences (another reason why the White Claw is so popular these days!). This is especially true, considering the fact that the majority of the world has been confined to their homes for the past few months, unable to exercise properly. 

An image of a billboard that has an ad for Social Lite Vodka Soda's. The headline reads, "Canada's #1 Vodka Soda".

Another way to get ahead of your competitors is working with the seasons. Trends in alcohol change very quickly depending on what time of year it is. Therefore, it is critical to capitalize on branding for popular occasions such as, spring break, summer vacation, New Years and the winter holidays. Currently, due to the state of the world, these kinds of festivities have come to a halt. Instead, alcohol companies are turning to alternative forms of advertising to relate to consumers. Luke O’Reilly, a freelance copywriter, created a fantastic Guinness ad that perfectly encapsulates the imagery of their beer and enforces the notion of staying at home during the pandemic. 

An image of a Guinness advertisement. The image is a glass of Guinness but instead of foam on top, there's an image of a couch. at the bottom it says "stay at home".

This kind of forward thinking is exactly what accelerates brand awareness as well as popularity. It pays to be clever in advertising, so why not capitalize on it.  

OOH cuts through the clutter

We currently find ourselves online more than ever before, which means that online ads have also become more frequent and more cluttered. OOH advertising on the other hand, cuts through all that junk. Placing an OOH ad on a truck side or a billboard near stores that sells alcohol is effective because it can’t be missed and can grab the attention of consumers who might be looking for a sign to buy a certain beverage. Grab-and-go consumers are common and so, by placing your ad near a wine, beer, and or spirits store, you’ll be sure to engage a widespread audience and potentially help people with their shopping decisions. 

COVID – time to capitalize

Whether you’re sharing a beer with friends over Facetime or enjoying a glass of red wine with your family members at the dinner table, the ability to appreciate and experience alcohol consumption during quarantine has by no means slowed down. Where many companies saw temporary shutdowns or at least business losses due to the pandemic, alcohol beverage companies did not. According to the National Post, Canadians under the age of 54 have been drinking more since they started social distancing. Additionally, 25% of Canadians aged 35 to 54, and one-fifth aged 18 to 34 say they have increased their alcohol consumption. 

These numbers are not likely to change once more businesses begin to reopen. Alcoholic beverage companies have the opportunity to capitalize on their continued popularity, using OOH advertising. Combining OOH with new technologies allow alcohol advertisers to target audiences based on demographics, lifestyle, and recent purchases – especially since these factors have drastically changed over the past few months. Creating digital OOH (DOOH) that heavily promotes contactless home deliveries would be a great way to advertise as more and more people are beginning to order their alcohol online.

An image of a twitter post made by Aperol Spritz. The post is promoting the Aperol drink and says that it can be enjoyed at home.

Final thoughts

During unprecedented and constantly changing times, using OOH to brand your alcohol company couldn’t be more important. As people begin to socialize outside again, creating an alcohol ad that accentuates this resurgence would be extremely cost effective. Furthermore, following trends and capitalizing on hyperlocal marketing is possible with OOH advertising and will push you ahead of your competitors. So cheers to OOH, and cheers to enjoying the little things in life (if only in the smallest of ways)!

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