When non-alcoholic spirit brand Seedlip launched in 2015, the contemporary category of non-alcoholic alternatives didn’t yet exist.
While there has since been a proliferation of alcohol-free alternatives to traditional spirits and cocktails (to say nothing of the rise of non-alcoholic beer), the brand’s high-end, herbal-forward approach to nonalcoholic spirits is still an unusual proposition to drinkers.
Seedlip is leaning into that point with its first campaign in around three and a half years, “Choose Different,” which launched recently and features actor Regé-Jean Page (well-known for being the Duke in “Bridgerton”) highlighting the Diageo-owned brand’s range of spirits and demonstrating how they can be used in the creation of unique cocktails or mocktails.
We caught up with Nicholas Rowland, senior marketing manager for Seedlip, to discuss the challenges of standing out in a crowded marketplace.
CPG Insider: Why was now the right time for Seedlip to pursue its first marketing campaign in over three years?
Nicholas Rowland: It just makes sense in our sales period entering into the holidays and, of course, January. So it was the right time to release a message. In terms of why it’s taken so many years, there was a huge amount of shift in the consumer landscape over the past few years, and that has taken some time to stabilize.
In the meantime, the non-alcohol category has undergone a huge amount of growth and change, so we wanted to wait until the time was right to make sure we were coming out with a bold and impactful message.
Can you elaborate on the evolution in the category over the past few years, and how that has informed the campaign?
For us, we’ve taken the time to look at the brand, our strengths, and our points of differentiation in the category. What sets Seedlip apart is we are not a non-alcoholic imitation of an alcoholic product.
We’re actually a whole new proposition, a new way of drinking, with original and distinct flavors. That mindset is what lends credence to the line “Choose Different,” which is what the campaign hangs on. We are different, both from traditional alcoholic options, but also from some of our growing competitors in the category as well.
Was there a need to raise awareness of that differentiation at a time when consumers have so many options in the space?
Absolutely. The reason we partnered with a spokesperson like Regé is to build that awareness and get that message out there at scale. We view Seedlip as a sophisticated and elevated option, and Regé is someone who oozes sophistication but is down-to-earth, so the partnership felt really natural.
Who is the target consumer for this campaign and for the brand in general?
We’re constantly learning about the consumer. This is a rapidly growing category that’s very nascent as well. We know that Seedlip, broadly, appeals to anyone looking to moderate -- whether in a particular moment or for a lifetime. Our consumer base over-indexes with women and older millennials in urban and suburban areas.
What are some of the benefits, and some of the potential drawbacks, of being an early entrant in the category?
When Seedlip was created, there was no one else around like it, and I think it was really about that spark of ingenuity from, and expression of, our founder, Ben Branson. It was botanical-forward, with a real farm story behind it.
Now, as the category has expanded, there are those propositions out there that are intuitively easier to understand than Seedlip: brands that advertise as a non-alcoholic gin or a non-alcoholic tequila.
If you’re a regular consumer of those categories, you can understand how that would fit into your drinking repertoire. There are also brands out there that have adaptogens and functional ingredients that purport to have health benefits.
For Seedlip, there is that challenge of remaining relevant and top of mind as newer brands come out into the marketplace.
But it is also a point of strength, which is what the “Choose Different” campaign really hits on. It’s celebrating and galvanizing that consumer choice to moderate with something that is substantially different. We come in three distinct and unique flavor profiles. It’s zero sugar but really strong on flavor, which feels differentiated from any other product out there.