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Summer Starts Now with Alcoholic Beverage Ads



Summer weather is heating up and so is advertising for wine, beer, and spirits. 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 January to May 2016, there were 1,855 alcohol advertisers buying across print and online (yes, there really are many more brands than you might expect). The number of ads placed online and in print increased significantly to attract new audiences and anticipation of hot weather drinks.  Seventeen percent of print advertisers increased placement of ad pages.  And twenty-two percent of online advertisers increased their ad placement. Summer is the time for Rosè and exotic cocktails–a time to reminisce about tropical vacations, warm beaches and the glory days. Fifty-three percent of online advertisers are new in 2016. Some brands tapped into the vacation spirit with tropical names like Barone Ricasoli Wines and Firriato.

Out of the 1,855 brands this year, Wine is the category leader with 672 advertisers—almost 5x higher than Beer with 156 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. Whiskey and vodka follow with, respectively, 78 and 65 brands advertising. As expected, Anheuser-Busch InBev. is the largest advertiser for print, online and TV.

On a sobering note, alcohol does have standards for advertising. The Federal Trade Commission encourages the alcohol industry to comply with self-regulatory codes that are designed to limit targeting of teens. No more than 28.4% of the website audience for an ad may consist of people under 21. This is a low threshold however, so the regulations are light for most mass market websites. It proves there are many opportunities for alcohol advertisers to expand into more digital and print opportunities from mobile to desktop to polybagging to native (as long as the audience falls into the appropriate age threshold).  In the first five months of year 2016, we found alcohol advertising on 1,108 websites.

Given the popularity of craft beers and home brewing, beer brands are seeing significant growth in year-over-year online advertising, up 96%. That sharp increase may be coming at the expense of print advertising. Currently only 20% of alcohol advertisers buy both print and online ads.

This summer is projected to be a hot one! Remember to include alcohol advertisers in your pitches and wear extra sunscreen while sipping that caipirinha!