Best Ad Campaigns / Messaging

In every market alcohol companies face challenges when trying to advertise their product, but in France this can be particularly difficult due to the Evin Law, which introduced a partial ban on Alcohol advertising in 1991. The law limits alcohol advertising significantly, stating that  “messages and images should refer only to the qualities of the products such as degree, origin, composition, means of production, patterns of consumption…” and that “a health message must be included on each advertisement to the effect that “l’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé” : alcohol abuse is dangerous for health.”

Understanding that messaging in France is limited, we wanted to take a look at advertising campaigns that have been successful at engaging consumers while staying within the restraints of the Evin law.

1)Absolut Vodka’s UNIQUE Campaign generated an enormous buzz – the company set out to produce every bottle to be 100% unique and the candy colors really grabbed consumer attention. The campaign, focused only on the merchandising of the bottles is legal under Evin restrictions.  To check out the campaign click below.

Absolute Unique Campaign

*Absolut is also very active on Pinterest, where they have created a board for all of their “Absolut” advertisements, which consumers then repin and share across the network.To see the ads click here.

2) Belvedere Sponsors Rolling Stone Breaking News App In a move to consolidate its image as the vodka of music festivals and music lovers everywhere, Belvedere has signed an exclusive sponsorship with Rolling stone Magazine- the vodka company will now be sponsoring the iPhone and iPad Breaking News app for Rolling stone. Why this works? Because Belvedere has been present, since joining (RED) at most major music festivals – they had a Drink Lounge at Lollapalooza this year, a VIP lounge at Cannes, Cochella 2012, and Miami’s three day party, Ultra 2012. They also often partner with artisits like David Guetta and Mary J.Blige for events like their pre-grammy party.  While alcohol companies in France are prohibited from advertising at cultural events, the possibility of participating in Apps has already been tested by Pernod Ricard – who launched the “Connected” App in November of 2012. This could be a way to partner with artists or brands while not directly advertising.


3) Havana Club – 7 Days in Havana Film Sponsorship took Cannes by storm. One of the first movies to be sponsored by an alcohol company, this movie generated an international buzz, and is a great example of branding by association. Rather than using traditional advertising to insist on its Cuban Roots – the company was able to use  film sponsorship to link its Rum directly to Cuban culture. The film début, while arguably a cultural event, was permitted in France at Cannes and even received prizes at the Festival.


4)Ballantine’s and Golf– over the past few years Ballantine’s whiskey has heavily invested in their partnership with Golfers Internationally, frequently sponsoring tournaments worldwide.  The message? A common History. Ballantine’s insists on the fact that Golf and Whiskey share common Scottish roots, and by marketing their product with Golf tournaments they are able to both play to heir Scottish heritage while also reaching golfers and branding themselves as a gentleman’s  drink. Golf Tournament sponsorships also often allow Ballantine’s to set up tasting stations near clubhouses where they can promote dégustation.

Ballentines and Golf

5) Campaigns focused on Purity of Ingredients – the example here is Absolut Vodka but they are by no means the only ones to use this tactic. Grey Goose Vodka and others have also promoted their use of “White Winter Wheat” and high quality sourcing or hand-selection. In the past few years movements like Slow Food, Gurilla Cooking, Farm to Table and Organic Products have exploded especially with “Foodies”  – The result? Messaging abut the quality of ingredients and the Process (how the product is treated) are important! Consumers in this group will avoid products that are chemically treated in favor of “pure” or “natural” alternatives.


6) Product Origins Interpreted by Local Artists– In Mexico Partnerships with music groups and local artists are a significant part of Absolut Vodka’s strategy. They announce via their twitter feed new songs in Spanish practiacally each day, and in a recent campaign they partnered with Dr. Larka, a Mexican traditional Artist to design their bottles for the country. The images on the bottles come from Mayan symbolism, and allow the Vodka company to connect with Mexican Culture. Beefeater gin used a similar strategy when it asked locals in Londan to take photos of what London meant for them and later featured the images on their bottles. While the product Absolut is certainly not Mexican by origin, the company’s marketing campaign ties the vodka to Mexican culture by working with local artists.

AbsoluteMéxico-botellas antiguas


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