Summer weather is heating up. It’s shaping up to be a hot season for alcohol advertising. Seasonal advertising has always been a strategic factor in targeting specific audiences. And it’s a great way to promote seasonal cocktails like Pimm’s Cup, matais, daiquiris, or mojitos. From favorites hit songs like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville or Rupert Holmes’ If you Like Pina Coladas to recent top trending hashtag #ThirstyThursday, everyone loves to celebrate summer with cocktails on their patio or a cooler on the beach.
From January to May 2016, there were 1,190 alcohol advertisers buying across print and online. 1,058 of them bought in print. Seventeen percent of print advertisers increased purchases of ad pages. Fifty-two percent are new in 2016. Print is still a powerful medium for alcohol given the strict regulations for digital.
Out of the 1,190 brands this year, Wine is the category leader with 699 advertisers—over twice as high as their nearest competitor, Spirits (313 advertisers). This is not surprising given the boom in the US wine industry, luxury restaurants with wine pairing menus, wine tasting trips, and even wine-inspired spa treatments. Within Spirits, whiskey and vodka brands are the top two sub-categories, respectively with 78 and 65 brands advertising. Overall, it’s not surprising to see that Anheuser-Busch InBev. is the largest advertiser in print, online and TV, however, the beer & cider category is the 3rd largest category with 154 brands.
Although online requires strict regulations for alcohol brands, digital remains a huge, largely untapped opportunity for publishers. The most important guideline says no more than 28.4% of the website audience for an ad may consist of people under 21. For publishers that skew to an older audience, alcohol ads are a great fit. Especially for news sites, home improvement content, parenting sites or finance content. Currently only 21% of alcohol advertisers buy print and online ads.
The real frontrunner are Beer & Cider brands with significant growth in online advertising, up 96% in online placement scores year-over-year. They also invested the most on TV advertising, with an estimated spend of $276 million from January to May 2016. Anheuser-Busch InBev (11 product lines), SABMiller (12 product lines) and Heineken (5 product lines) contributed the most to the growth in both media channels.