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Marketing Alcohol Brands at a Festive Time of Year

Parties and celebratory gatherings abound during the holidays and it’s no surprise that it’s a good time of year to be in the business. December is one of the biggest months for sales and many liquor stores report that New Year’s Eve is reliably their busiest day each year. Statista reports that the global market for alcoholic beverages totaled $1.45 trillion in 2021. We take a look at how three brands are attracting attention at this festive time of year.

Viva la Vodka
Ending a recent 15-year run as James Bond, actor Daniel Craig became the face of a global ad campaign for Belvedere Vodka. Taika Waititi, the New Zealand filmmaker known for movies like Thor: Love and Thunder and Jojo Rabbit, directed the spots that reveal Craig’s playful side—a departure from the impenetrable 007 character that brought him international fame. The ad is shot in Paris, starting with Craig in a Bond-style buttoned-up suit gazing at the Seine from the famous Pont Neuf bridge, before the scene transitions to him dancing joyfully down chic city streets. The original film is over two minutes long, though Belvedere also released 60-, 30- and 15-second versions for both linear and digital platforms.

Diageo’s Smirnoff brand struck a different tone with its recent “Drops of Advice” campaign that features six animated short videos created by Igor Bastidas, an award-winning Venezuelan animator. Though visually playful, the videos drive home a serious message: Consumers should drink responsibly during the holiday season, which usually sees an increase of alcohol-related incidents and injuries. Six animations include six important pieces of advice, like “It’s OK to call it a night,” “Avoid top-ups,” “When drinking, food is your friend” and more, all accompanied by their own video clip appearing on both Diageo and Smirnoff’s social media pages. Corresponding stills and posters are decorating pop-up bars around the world this season to complete the effort.

Whisky for the Win
The Macallan whisky brand has never done things by half measures. It was one of Scotland’s first distilleries to be legally licensed in 1824, before making history again a century later. An epic eight-minute film called “The Spirt of 1926” now tells that story, following the path of Janet “Nettie” Harbinson who took control of the distillery following her husband’s sudden death only months before the end of the first world war. Under Nettie’s guidance, Macallan produced its Fine & Rare 1926 whisky that sold at Sotheby’s for 1.5 million pounds in 2019. Throughout the movie-style ad, Harbinson is portrayed as a powerful woman persevering against great odds while never abandoning her business or beliefs. “It’s an interesting project,” said Jaume Ferras, Macallan creative director. “We look back to get inspired… learning from what we’ve done.”

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!