Commentary

10 Refreshingly Useful Ideas

In the world of wine and beer marketing, sexy, clever and/or entertaining ads are often what grab the headlines. The purpose of this article is to reveal another framework in which the promotional activity of these beverages also provides intrinsic value — an approach I call “Marketing as Service.” Here are 10 refreshing examples that will hopefully inspire you to bring more utility to your marketing no matter what the product category.

Packaging that does more than pop

1. Nothing says, “drink me now” like a wine bottle that also doubles as a glass. Caps off to the folks at Copa Divino for making a re-sealable container called The Copa Glass. Zipz Wine is taking a similarly picnic chic approach and is now available in six-cup-packs at major ballparks.

2. Heineken has found a way to help its fans light up the night, literally, with its prototype “Ignite” bottles that respond to toasting, drinking and even pulsing music at trendy dimly lit events, the first of which was the Milan Design Fair. 

3. In a bid to attract Millennials away from cocktails and craft beers, Uproot Wines is trying a whole new type of labeling system that describes its “Flavor Palette” with color-coded guides versus traditional grape-type descriptors.

4. Brazil’s AmBev offered Rio carnival partiers a free train ride home simply by scanning their Antarctica beer and then handing in the can at a specially designed turnstile, simultaneously limiting drunk driving and freeing the grounds from the usual post-revelry rubbish piles. That’s a double shot of branded utility.      

Encouraging social and antisocial media behavior

5. New Castle Brown, a brand distinguished by ads with attitude, brought its tongue in cheek approach to Twitter, offering $1 for its first 50,000 followers. While one buck won’t buy brand love, it does start the conversation, one that New Castle can continue online and offline with its new address book (the checks are sent by mail!).

6. Norte beer recognized that every night out need not be recorded for posterity and thusly created a beer cooler that doubles as a Photoblocker, providing both utility and distinctive on-premise signage.

7. Another clever brand, Sol beer set up a recycling bin for neck ties next to the bins for paper & cans at commuter stations, offering a free beer to anyone who got into the spirit, which I guess we could call “tying one off.” 

Inspiring online, offline and mobile

8. From the savvy folks who created a Book of World Records as a means of inspiring fun pub conversations, comes the Guinness pub finder app, which is another quintessential example of “Marketing as Service.” The app does exactly what you’d expect, helping even Android users find the nearest pints of their beloved Irish dry stout.

9. At a music festival in South Africa, beer sponsor Windhoek delighted attendees by enabling them to order a free beer via their smartphones, which was then promptly delivered via specially designed drones to their GPS-identified location. Now that’s service with a smile. 

10. Surrounding brand marketers are a number of apps designed to help connect consumers with the right place or product. The TastingRoom.com offers a personalized wine finder based on your preferences while the TapHunter helps you locate the nearest Craft Beer venue. 

Final Note: Admittedly, some of these ideas seem more like PR-chasing stunts than genuine efforts to deliver a service of value but, hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.  For more consumable ideas, join me for a panel discussion on innovative marketing at the upcoming Wine/Beer Technology Symposium in Napa on June 30.

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