Social media can be a tricky beast for alcohol brands.
With strict ASA regulations put in place to protect young people, targeting the right audience with the right kind of content is a constant struggle – especially at Christmas time.
So, how do alcohol brands promote their products responsibly on social?
Here’s a few examples of those doing it well.
One approach for alcohol brands is to divert attention away from the product or the pursuit of drinking itself.
Kronenbourg beer is one brand that does this, using social media to promote fun and creative video content.
The #LeBigSwim is probably its most famous example.
Starring Eric Cantona, the campaign saw the footballer promising to swim the English Channel if 10,000 people declared Kronenbourg to be the supreme beer.
It garnered a huge response on Twitter, with a reported 2.5m engagements and an earned reach of 66.3m.
By giving consumers a purpose, asking them to actively respond and engage, it is a far more effective strategy than passive advertising.
— Kronenbourg 1664 UK (@Kronenbourg1664) July 2, 2015
Moët & Chandon
Not all alcohol brands can rely on humour – especially those that are luxury or high-end.
Instead, many choose to focus on legacy and long-standing tradition, like French winery Moët & Chandon.
— Moët & Chandon UK (@Moet_UK) November 16, 2016
Unnafraid to go all out on social, it recognises the fact that its niche audience love the brand for its opulence and decadence.
Its Instagram channel in particular shows this off to great effect, confidently showcasing the product in an array of stunning and aspirational settings.
Tequila brand Patrón is another ultra-premium brand, however its presence on social is built around giving users access to its exclusive world.
Last year, it used Oculus Rift technology to create ‘The Art of Patrón’ virtual reallity experience.
Giving viewers a behind the scenes look at its Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, it shows in intricate detail how tequila is made.
Generating excitment through innovative technology, it is a great example of content that users will want to share with their friends on social.
Similarly, it also shows why the brand has gone from a non-existent digital presence to one of the best in the business.
While large campaigns and video ads can generate engagement, traditional social media practices like one-to-one conversations are also worthwhile – particularly when it comes to fostering customer loyalty.
Jack Daniels is a brand that consistently does this, replying to the majority of comments on its Facebook page.
By instilling this confidence in fans on social, it naturally generates a lot of user generated content, with many people posting their own recipes in response.
This demonstrates how even the biggest brands can create their own mini-communities on hubs and social platforms.
Stoli, or Stolichnaya, is a vodka brand that cleverly disrupts the stereotypes associated with its product.
Using the hashtag #DrinkWhatYouWant to promote the related advert on Twitter, it aims to show men that it’s OK to drink fruit-based cocktails.
While it’s certainly not the best or funniest advert around, it is still a good example of how to market to a specific audience.
— Stolichnaya Vodka (@Stoli) July 21, 2016
Continuing its targeting of men, the brand also uses hashtags like #cocktailgating on Twitter, drawing on interest and excitement in the American football season to further its reach.
— Stolichnaya Vodka (@Stoli) October 6, 2016
Another brand that typically targets men, Carlsberg is well-known for its fun and innovative content strategy.
This extends to social too, where the brand is well adept at keeping followers engaged and interested long-term.
One of the ways it does this on Twitter is through its short, snappy and varied feed – mostly ensuring that users do not need to click away to consume content.
Using Twitter cards and native video to hold attention, it means fans can enjoy its recognisable style of content while scrolling through social media.
— Carlsberg (@carlsberg) September 16, 2016
Likewise, Carlsberg is also very confident in what its consumers want, regularly retweeting posts from sponsors and other related channels.
— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) July 9, 2016
Johnnie Walker is a brand that promotes a lifestyle rather than just its product.
Recognising the power of experiences over purchases, its presence on social mainly promotes its #KeepWalking campaign – built on the notions of progress and the fight against adversity.
While it all sounds rather worthy coming from a whisky brand, it is shrewd in how it uses the influence of others to promote its core message.
Building on the tagline of ‘Let Joy Push You On’, it partners with people like Romi Garduce, a passionate mountaineer with a loyal following on Instagram.
Working with other influencers such as Jude Law and artist Arran Greggory, the brand effectively draws on larger themes to inspire and empower its audience.
— Johnnie Walker (@johnniewalker_) October 4, 2016
Lastly, Rekorderlig is a great example of how to capitalise on real-time events and pop culture references to draw in a millennial crowd.
Newsjacking is always a tricky tactic, however, the cider brand tends to err on the side of caution with a lighter approach.
Using hashtags related to everything from the Great British Bake Off to the Olympics, it strives to stay relevant.
— Rekorderlig Cider (@rekorderlig) September 21, 2016
As well as Twitter, its Instagram presence is also well-executed, used to generate excitement around seasonal events like its winter pop-up bar.