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Top drinks marketing campaigns and news: May

Coors Light helps consumers escape from Zoom calls

After offering US$1 million worth of free beer to locked-down US drinkers, Molson Coors-owned brand Coors light has provided a way for them to drink at their leisure all week long, regardless of work meetings.

The forward-thinking beer brand has created a platform on its website that allows you to record a 30-second loop of yourself looking interested and engaged, which can then be used as a background for video calls on popular web-based conferencing tools such as Zoom.

Once you start recording, the video will offer prompts like “nod in agreement”, “quick, look interested!” and “smile at a co-worker’s joke”.

You can then upload it to Zoom as a background in your own call, which, in theory, means you can escape for a few minutes.

The platform was set up shortly after Coors Light pledged to give out 500,000 free beers to people all over the United States.

In April, a Pennsylvania woman made headlines when she was photographed by her window while holding a cold one in one hand and a sign reading “I need more beer!” in the other. Coors Light then sent 150 cans of beer to her doorstep.

This sparked Coors’ latest US$1m campaign, called #coulduseabeer, in which Twitter followers were asked to tweet @CoorsLight with the name of a person they’d like to nominate to receive some free beer from the brewer.

Chilean wine brand launches partnership with Spotify

Concha y Toro-owned Frontera has launched a wine and music pairing initiative with music streaming platform Spotify.

Frontera, which has a portfolio of 14 wines, said it was the first wine brand to collaborate with Spotify on wine and music pairings.

Each wine style has been paired with a different music genre, and each playlists boasts 40 songs.

Users of the audio platform in the US can scan a code on Frontera bottles using the Spotify app, which will then open the customised playlist for the wine they’re drinking. The QR codes, designed to look like a sound wave, are printed on all 750ml and 1.5l bottles.

Canned wine founder hopes no one sees ad campaign

The founder of a canned wine brand backed by former BrewDog, Red Bull and Waitrose executives and Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard, has said he hopes “as few people as possible” see its new outdoor advertising campaign as it launches this summer.

The wine range, called Hun, launched in May alongside a meta outdoor advertising campaign that asks consumers to pity the marketing team that had to create a campaign while strict social distancing rules were enforced in the UK.

Created by advertising agency TBWA, the ads feature across London with lines such as: “Look everybody! We’ve just launched a new wine. Anybody? Anybody? Anybody?” and “You’ve taken up running? Must be bad. Still, try running an advertising campaign that only you’re going to see.” The out-of-home activity will be supported by a digital campaign that rewards free wine to those who have also had key events – such as birthdays and weddings – disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The wines are sourced from vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and canned in the UK. Proceeds from every case sold go towards supporting South African Fairtrade projects.

Mark Woollard, co-founder of Hun, said: “It’s strange to say it, but we hope as few people as possible see the outdoor campaign and that everyone continues to observe the vital self-distancing rules, and what better way to self-isolate than with your own can of wine for one.

Ryan Reynolds launches stay at home ad for Aviation Gin

Actor Ryan Reynolds has voiced a new advert for his Aviation Gin brand that warns people to “stop drinking and shopping” online.
During the one-minute advert, Reynolds reminisces about the simple pleasure of going out, and the feeling of endless possibilities
when having a cocktail at a bar.

“Remember the simple pleasure of going out? That first sip that made it seem like anything, and anyone, was possible?”

“Or before you heard the term social distancing, that magical feeling of waking up to discover you now have a problematic lower back tattoo?”

The advert insists that you can create the above memories “at home” if you buy the Hollywood actor’s gin, although it adds “for the love of the postal service, stop drinking and shopping.”

As consumers continue to observe responsible social distancing and hospitality venues remain closed, Reynolds has promised that 30% of all proceeds from sales of his gin will go towards bartenders who have been left without work.

Aviation Gin’s #TipYourBartenders campaign sees profits donated to the United States Bartenders Guild, and to UK industry charity
The Drinks Trust. The initiative was due to run until the end of May 2020.

“We’re grateful to Aviation Gin for its support during this tough period for our industry,” Ross Carter, CEO of The Drinks Trust, said.

London brewery launches mobile pint pouring service

Hackney’s Forest Road Brewing has fashioned its own ‘pint mobile’, delivering freshly-poured glasses of draught beer to customers’ doors.

After the Covid-19 lockdown led to the closure of pubs and bars, breweries have had to take matters into their own hands.

East London-based brewery Forest Road, however, has taken things one step further, converting a Citroën Berlingo into a mobile bar pouring three of its beers. The van is capable of carrying 150 pints, as well as a couple of cases of canned and bottled Forest Road beer.

To order your beer, the brewery has a dedicated page on its website, or you can text or WhatsApp the Forest Road Tactical Beer Response Unit on 07507 096 874. Beers are £5 per pint, which includes a branded glass. Customers are welcome to bring their own glass for refill.

BrewDog’s libel case against PR firm over Trump stunt rejected

A High Court judge has dismissed BrewDog’s libel case against a PR firm after a press release, sent in 2018, promised free beer for supporters of the US President Donald Trump.

Mr Justice Nicol, who gave his judgement remotely yesterday (20 May), agreed. He said that the press release did not suggest BrewDog supported Trump, and even if it did, that does not amount to libel.

The release, which was promoting the tie-up between the brewers and the sale of Scofflaw’s beer in BrewDog bars, called on the UK to get “beered up redneck style, completely free of charge”.

It added: “But there is a hook… you have to be a Trump supporter.”

Both Scofflaw and BrewDog said they had not approved the press release, which was sent out by PR firm Frank.

Taking legal action against the public relations company, BrewDog argued that it had suffered reputational damage after being linked with the president, a politician the brewery had previously publicly disagreed with.

Lawyers for Frank PR, however, argued that the tone of the press release was “light-hearted” and “played on Scofflaw’s redneck image”. They added that those who received the press release and free beer offer would know that it was intended as a “publicity gimmick”.

Nicol said: “I have found that the natural and ordinary meaning said nothing about the political philosophy of the claimants.

“For this reason, it is not necessary to consider whether, if the words complained of had associated the claimants with Donald Trump, that would have been defamatory at common law. The issue simply does not arise.

“Simply to say of someone that they were a supporter of Donald Trump (or his policies) would not arguably lower that person in the eyes of right-thinking people generally.”

Lockdown divides consumers into “halters” and “hedonists”

Market research group Wine Intelligence has identified what it claims are two specific types of consumer that the drinks trade should be targeting during lockdown.

With Wine Intelligence’s research focused on “how people are going to respond to the world that is coming into view”, co-founder Richard Halstead said there was a radical difference in how consumers felt about life after lockdown, between people who are not happy about leaving the house and those “who want to get on a plane immediately and dance in a nightclub in Ibiza”.

Halstead said that “nearly 30% of people are going to be cutting back on going out, whether that is drinking or other leisure activities”.

Out of those, 18% were classed as “halters”, who would be likely to avoid leaving home.

These consumers, he said, were most likely to be “millennials, and Generation X, and they are quite London-centric”.

On the other hand, 16% of the wine drinkers surveyed, classed as “hedonists”, will be “first through the door when something opens”, said Halstead, adding: “They are probably already throwing parties and don’t see the pandemic as a problem, and this group is strongly represented by 25-34 year olds – millennials.”

Meanwhile, 56% of wine drinkers surveyed, who were described as middle-aged drinkers, “will go back to what they were doing before”.

Donnafugata releases Dolce & Gabbana-designed rosé

With rosé sales surging during lockdown, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has joined the party, designing the label for a new Sicilian rosé by Donnafugata.

According to Donnafugata, the thirst quenching pink offers notes of jasmine, wild strawberry, peach and bergamot, with the Nerello Mascalese adding a mineral component and the Nocera bringing red and stone fruit to the blend.

The bottle’s geometrically patterned blue, red, white and pink label, designed by Dolce & Gabbana, is inspired by the ornate detailing of traditional carts native to Sicily.

The wine goes on sale via the Dolce & Gabbana website next month.

Italian Wine Week launches online

Wine Events Worldwide launched Italian Wine Week last month – an online trade fair aimed at producers wanting to pitch their wines to buyers across the globe.

“Having just launched Spanish Wine Week, organising an Italian Wine week was an obvious next step,” founder Anthony Swift told db.

Italian Wine Week took place from 26-28 May, featuring live interviews with boutique wine producers highlighting some of the lesser-known terroirs and wines across Italy.

“As we organise B2B workshops in Spain, Italy and the UK, it made sense in these challenging times to look at how to keep wine producers and buyers connected and doing business while simultaneously providing educational content to help wine importers with their businesses.”

Vodka brand creates plastic face shields

Vodka brand Tovaritch! has designed face shields for its employees and business partners to safeguard against spreading Covid-19.

The plastic shields were made in Switzerland in line with local standards. It is hoped that the T! shields can help Tovaritch’s business partners feel safe at work, including wholesalers, bartenders, on-trade and off-trade customers.

“Focusing on the safety of our representatives is one of the key goals of our company,” Eugenio Litta, chief executive of Tovaritch Spirits International, told the drinks business.

“Businesses should be able to reopen their doors soon, but should only do so safely. We are delighted to make these face shields available to the Tovaritch! global network of distributors to help them prepare for the future.

“Working in our industry with a mask is not that practical, but with the T! face shield we offer a safe and practical alternative or addition.”

The shield’s creation comes as lockdown measures have started to ease worldwide, and many companies grapple with the issues of allowing staff to work at their facilities while adhering to social distancing rules.

The UK government, for example, published a 60-page document last month that advised the public to wear face coverings, such as masks or shields, when they are in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested these could become mandatory.

E&J Gallo gives Dark Horse revamp

E&J Gallo has announced it will roll out new packaging for its wine brand Dark Horse in the UK, following a successful trial in the US.

The new labels, which will be phased in between now and September, lead with the brand’s horse’s head logo, but now each varietal has its own designated colour to “enable greater standout on shelf and drive differentiation across the range”. They will land in the UK this year, having already appeared in the United States.

Olga Senkina, marketing director EMEA, at E&J Gallo Winery, said consumers’ response to the packaging has been “overwhelmingly positive”, with drinkers showing a “much stronger preference” for the new labels.

“The distinctive designs make Dark Horse easier to find in store and the strong colours enhance the brand’s stand-out on shelf, setting it apart from its competitors,” Senkina said. “Research has also revealed that consumers perceive the wine to be better-tasting as a result of the distinctive new look.”

A recent Nielsen packaging study that featured Dark Horse wines, conducted in the US, showed that consumers were 20% more likely to buy Dark Horse wine in its new packaging format compared with the existing labels.

The US wine group launched Dark Horse in 2010, and it has grown since then to include seven varietal wines and one rosé.

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