View Responsibly: Online Liquor Videos Need to Craft Careful Mesage

 A good portion of the world is spending a good portion of this week drunk.

It’s nothing to be proud of that many user-generated videos are created by people under the influence, sometimes under the nastiest of situations. It’s a pretty stupid thing to do, but alcohol makes people do stupid things.  

New Year’s Eve, historically, is when people alcohol makes people even more stupid.  

Liquor marketers seem a little constrained by social media and online video, perhaps because they don’t want to be accused of targeting youthful drinkers.

But the fact is, Generation Y, the people born between 1982 and 1995, have grown up with the Internet, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media.  There’s nothing more social—or, eventually, potentially socially destructive—than drinking.

So, manufacturers have to craft careful messages.

According to the marketing firm Scalable Social Media’s partner and analyst Alisa Meredith spirits manufacturers need to to be careful before creating online content that might be interpreted as targeting younger drinkers (just like just about every beer or hard liquor ad I’ve ever  seen on TV does).  



She notes that the distilled spirits industry’s own trade association’s guideline says digital marketing should only be placed where 71.6% of the likely audience are of legal drinking age.

Quoting VentureBeat stats, Meredith says about 85% of Facebook users are 25 or older. About  78% of Twitter users,  88% of Pinterest,  and 95% of LinkedIn users are 25+5%. On the other  hand  45% Google Plus users are under 25.

Her advice: Make sure you check ages before you let Internet visitors see your online videos. (Researching this blog, I was always asked my age when I visited alcohol related sites. I  put in under 21 ages on a few sites and was turned away.)

But Meredith's advice also is, don’t ignore online media, expecially to reach the Milennials who are both of age and watching videos. 

That demographic, Meredith says, is a consumer group 65 million strong.. She notes that  in the U.S. alone, Generation Y  “uses the Internet for entertainment and socializing more than any other group, so if you have been ignoring social media, feeling that your customers don’t use it, it’s time to think again!”

On the Business 2 Community Website, Ben Richardson there posted five of the best liquor-themed online campaigns for the holiday seaason.  

High on his list were holiday themed  ads that coincide with Southern Comfort’s “Whatever’s Comfortable”  campaign. (Sober people may disagree but to me, those Southern Comfort commercials, which play off the idea that Southern Comfort drinkers are clueless, are horrible. They feature a paunchy dude wearing a too-tight swimsuit wandering around with a drink in his hand. He’s clueless, all right. And he certainly wouldn’t in any James Bond kind of way, get the girl. Or even get close to the girl. The Dos Equis guy would have him arrested.)

Others mentioned by Business2Business were Patron’s Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka and a Smirnoff’s Vodka giveaway . 

Richardson’s favorite  was a Jack Daniel’s video on its Facebook page, that seemed right out of the Budweiser playbook. This one used 140 Jack Daniel’s barrels arranged to stack up like a Christmas tree.

There is also another commercials that  promoted its Operation Ride Home in which the Tennessee whiskey maker teamed with the Armed Services YMCA and Facebook to visitors to help provide the money for 425 military families  to get together for the holidays.  

These things seem more designed to make you cry than make your drink. Neither video says much about the brand, or even hints at the effects or taste of Jack Daniel’s. But in the end, maybe that is the best way to promote liquor online.  

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