Marketing as Service Serves Alcohol Brands

While touting Marketing as Service relentlessly over the past few years, I’m also keenly aware that this approach may not be right for every brand or category. One category that I had my doubts about is Spirits. Relying heavily on visual brand statements in print and outdoor, it was unclear to me if a more service-oriented approach could drive people to drink. Well, I’m happy to report that a pitcher full of new campaigns have convinced me that Marketing as Service pours it on here too.

DonQ, a rum brand, recently launched a clever web campaign that answers some of the “tougher” questions men face today like how often to call their mothers and how quickly after the break-up can you ask a buddy’s ex out. The answers are provided by a large panel of ladies who’s responses can be segmented by age, relationship status, region, education, personal style and even “socialization.” According to a report by MediaPost, the campaign is designed to “engage men where they live these days — online and on their mobile phones.”

Word-of-mouth for the service — and further engagement with the brand — is being built via social media, including Facebook and Twitter and newer comers such as Foursquare, Tumblr, BuzzFeed, Nerve, Mixologist, HappyHoured and The Deck Network.

Given that the liquor category tends to be heavily reliant on on-site promotions and sampling and “one-way” advertising, there was “a clear space” for DonQ to enter with a service-oriented marketing perspective, adds Clay Parker Jones of New York-based digital strategy firm Undercurrent, who is the lead strategist on the project.

I’m also a fan of The Glenlivet Whisky Season Open and its smart sponsorship of the World Golf Tour program. Transporting me to the virtual dunes of St. Andrews, The Glenlivet introduced me to a highly engaging online golf game that is both challenging and addictive. Though I didn’t take the time to perfect my virtual swing, you can tell by the Leader Board that thousands have, no doubt many of them ending their round with a proper toast to their host, The Glenlivet.

Jack Daniel’s created an interesting “toast” application in celebration of the founders September birthday. Over 6,000 toasts were sent and this effort helped the brand attract over 370,000 fans on Facebook! Here’s a brief overview from MediaPost:

The “Give A Toast” application analyzes a user’s Facebook friend list, uses their profiles to automatically screen out any friends under 21, and identifies friends to toast based on their profile information or activities on the network. The user’s friends are ranked into seven categories based on their data: social friend, photogenic friend, musical friend, mysterious friend, all-around friend, active friend or interesting friend.

The app does all of the work for the user: No need to answer questions or manually select friends to send toasts to. The toast and the Jack Daniel’s cocktail selected by the user are posted on friends’ Facebook walls. The app also identifies those friends who have September birthdays, and encourages users to toast them.

I have lots more examples but will have to save them a later post.  In the meantime, cheers to the brands who DO something for their target versus those who just SAY something.  As the old sage advised, “actions speak louder than words.”

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