Influencer Marketing and Alcohol Brands

In many ways, alcohol advertising has stayed traditional. Print ads and television commercials are still popular ways to market beer, wine, and spirits.

But as social media platforms become more advanced at identifying user age and setting safeguards, alcohol brands are venturing into marketing on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

With the shift to more digital marketing, alcohol brands are also harnessing the power of influencers to gain traction on social media platforms. Influencers not only know the platforms, but they have creative approaches to alcohol marketing – and the lifestyle surrounding the alcohol brands.

Alcohol Brands and Social Media Influencers – The Perfect Fit

Alcohol brands rarely advertise the wine, beer, or liquor itself. It’s usually about selling a particular lifestyle.

Think of some of the most famous and popular alcohol brand ads:

  • Corona’s “Find Your Beach” ads that sell barefoot, sun-soaked leisure.
  • Absolut Vodka’s high-end nightlife-focused ads.
  • Dos Equis and the humorous “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign.

Partnering with influencers and content creators is an effective way for alcohol brands to reach large audiences while selling the lifestyle and brand identity.

Influencer collaborations not only put a human face behind the brand for trust and relevance, but it allows brands to engage with customers and develop loyal communities of advocates.

Challenges to Alcohol Marketing on Social Media

Whether a brand partners with an influencer or not, there are limitations to advertising alcohol on social media.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines protect people under legal drinking age from exposure to alcohol campaigns. Historically, these guidelines prevented alcohol brands from marketing beer, wine, and spirits on social media or with influencers.

With no accurate way to know the ages, social media platforms had no way of determining if over 71.6% of users were of legal purchasing age. This is a potential violation of the FTC guidelines and could have legal ramifications.[1]

In addition, underage users could accidentally be exposed to alcohol advertising, which has its own implications and could cause a PR backlash for the brand.

Fortunately, social media platforms have become more advanced with collecting data on users, including accurate data regarding birth dates and ages. Alcohol brands are now flooding the social platforms, including big-name brands like Patrón tequila. Currently, about 97% of alcohol brands are now marketing on Instagram.[2]

Best Practices for Alcohol Brands and Influencer Marketing

Though brands may be able to market beer, spirits, and wine on social media, the waters are still murky. It’s important to exercise caution to maintain the integrity of the industry and keep it moving forward.

  • Depict consumption responsibly: Like print and television ads, alcohol should always be shown with safe consumption and the imagery of “drink responsibly.” Avoid situations like drinking at a lake or near a pool and while operating heavy machinery.
  • Submit clear guidelines: While you should always have clear guidelines with influencer partnership, it’s vital for alcohol brands. Make sure your influencer partner considers all the implications of the way they promote and depict alcohol consumption. For example, avoid content that insinuates the influencer is drinking alone or drinking as a therapeutic solution.
  • Target the right people: Social media may have a handle on user ages, but it’s up to you to do your due diligence. Make sure the influencer and their followers are of legal drinking age (or at least the same 71% majority). Set filters to target adults of legal drinking age as well.

Influencer Marketing for Your Alcohol Brand

Now that alcohol brands are taking to social media safely, there are huge opportunities for influencer marketing and creative approaches to lasting campaigns.