Making an impression

Various marketing techniques are used to engage with the on-trade and consumers

Bartender competitions are increasingly used by brands to engage with the on-trade; Diageo Reserve integrated this into the campaign for Talisker earlier this year

WHEN it comes to drinks brands, there has probably never been so much choice.

From gin, whisky and rum to beer and cider, new products and expressions seem to be hitting the market every other day, giving operators a wealth of options when deciding which products and brands to stock – with many opting for a combination of local, craft brands alongside the bigger key players.

Ensuring their brands continue to stand out in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace is, therefore, crucial for producers and distributors, which continue to up the ante when it comes to promotional activity designed to grab the attention of licensees and consumers.

Renowned for its humorous advertising, Tennent’s is currently the focus of the ‘Here to Serve’ campaign, which sees the beer giant ‘act like a public utility to make life easier for consumers while raising a smile at the same time’.

Alongside large scale outdoor advertising, PR and social media activity, the campaign includes the ‘Give us a Break’ on-trade promotion, giving pub customers who buy a pint of Tennent’s the chance to win a holiday to locations like Thailand and Jamaica, as well as various other travel-related prizes; participating outlets received a kit including drip mats, posters and bar runners to promote the activity.

Sister brand Magners – the C&C Group-owned cider – is also currently the focus of summer marketing activity.

As part of the ‘Seize the Summer’ campaign, Magners has partnered with easyJet holidays to give pub customers the chance to win holidays as well as a range of ‘on the spot’ prizes, such as sunglasses, straw trilbies and t-shirts; outlets taking part in the activity were given promotional kits including scratch cards, tent cards, bar runners and posters.

Point of sale kits are also favoured by Guinness owner Diageo – particularly around St Patrick’s Day.

This year it distributed 10,000 kits containing a back-bar flag, bunting and 20 branded hats in a bid to “create awareness, drive footfall and encourage customers to buy Guinness” around St Patrick’s Day (March 17).

The on-trade is also a major focus for Molson Coors this year as it rolls out new-look fonts and glassware as part of the rebranding of Carling; described as a “modern, striking design”, the revamped branding is being applied across the entire Carling portfolio.

For some other drinks brands, bartender competitions are an important promotional tool.

As part of the ‘Made by the Sea’ campaign for its Isle of Skye single malt Talisker, Diageo Reserve invited bartenders to take part in the inaugural cocktail competition for the brand earlier this year. Called ‘The Race to Skye’, the contest challenged bar staff to create a cocktail that “evokes the spirit of Made by the Sea”.

And in some cases, a combination of bartender and consumer activity is utilised by drinks firms.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) recently launched the Summer Share a Coke campaign on its ‘Icon’ glass bottles for the first time, which has seen an estimated 13,000 glass bottles move through licensed premises over July and August this year; and the roll-out of its new Perfect Serve staff training programme continues.