The top 10 spirits brands on social media
Promoting alcohol responsibly to the right audience with vivid and effective content can be logistically challenging to say the least. Which brands ruled the digital sphere and grew consumer loyalty in the process last year?
Historically, mastering social media has been far from easy for the drinks industry – but when executed well, social provides unparalleled opportunities for brands to engage with their target audience.
Thanks to increasingly sophisticated age targeting, a number of spirit brands have honed their online presence, recognising its intrinsic value within a wider marketing strategy. Some have even opted to eliminate traditional advertising altogether and are leveraging the likes of YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat and more to engage with fans, share content and generate brand awareness.
With this in mind, our team has evaluated brands’ presence, engagement, creativity and consistency on what we consider to remain the most integral online platforms in 2017: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Brands were individually assessed on each platform, with a focus on global accounts rather than regional, where possible, with a final score awarded.
While regulatory challenges will always exist, by maximising online presence, alcoholic drinks companies can best serve their customers, their brands and – perhaps most importantly – their profits.
Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 spirits brands on social media.
These figures are based on research conducted by The Spirits Business in May 2017, and so the majority of brands included have most likely grown their followers and fans since.
Facebook fans: 2,381,298 | Twitter followers: 42.2k | Instagram followers: 21.3k
Engagement 9 | Frequency 7 | Creativity 9 | Consistency 7 | Overall score 32
This year’s Liqueurs Brand Champion, Malibu, also swiped a top spot on our social media leaderboard. The brand’s inherently successful Because Summer campaign, with its integrated social media campaign, boosted its popularity among consumers. The Pernod Ricard-owned rum liqueur put together numerous social assets as part of the campaign – including 86 video edits, seven of which were accompanied by a track by US trio Major Lazer. – plus brand and lifestyle imagery and cocktail recipes based on the Because Summer theme.
Facebook fans: 423,012 | Twitter followers: 20.5k | Instagram followers: 29.1k
Engagement 7 | Frequency 7| Creativity 10 | Consistency 8 | Overall score 32
As one of the world’s largest gin brands, Diageo-owned Tanqueray also secured the title of Gin Brand Champion 2017. Last year, Tanqueray appointed Snoop Dogg as brand ambassador to create signature cocktail recipes, serve Tanqueray at his concerts, attend the brand’s events and release exclusive content and art projects inspired by his famous track Gin & Juice. Snoop has since appointed 10 key “influencers” across the music, film, art, tech, business and fashion industries to provide marketing content for Tanqueray – which all makes for extremely clickable online content. The brand’s Instagram particularly caught our attention with its bright, glossy, polished lifestyle-led imagery.
8. Captain Morgan
Facebook fans: 5,949,867 | Twitter followers: 24.9k | Instagram followers: 60.2k
Engagement 10 | Frequency 8 | Creativity 7 | Consistency 8 | Overall score 33
In December, Diageo enlisted Leicester City footballer Wes Morgan as a brand ambassador for Captain Morgan, who helped to promote and judge the brand’s #CelebrateLikeTheCaptain campaign, and this was followed by a global campaign starring retired Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand. One of just two brands to receive 10/10 for fan engagement, the Diageo-owned rum brand excels at fan interaction, particularly on Facebook, taking care to respond to commenters with quick-witted on-brand responses. Unique, timely, engaging content is Captain Morgan’s forte; its digital team are clearly incredibly social media-savvy – the brand even recently launched its own Snapchat filter.
7. The Glenlivet
Facebook fans: 587,243 | Twitter followers: 23.7k | Instagram followers: 9.9k
Engagement 9 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 8 | Consistency 7 | Overall score 33
Effectively engaging with a demographic that is relatively new to the world of Facebook likes, retweets and Snapchat codes while preserving a heritage and provenance-rich brand message might be a challenge for some Scotch whiskies, but The Glenlivet makes it look effortless. Unlike some of its category cousins, the brand has not shied away from social media – using Facebook Live posts, looping GIF images, and simple, traditional picture backdrops to curate an audience-approproiate feed. On Facebook The Glenlivet constantly interacts with fans – responding to comments and liking posts – while through Twitter it regularly retweets whisky bloggers, industry websites and Scotch aficionados, resulting in a balanced and interesting feed.
Facebook fans: 1,072,878 | Twitter followers: 7.4k | Instagram followers: 13.1k
Engagement 6 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 9 | Consistency 9 | Overall score 33
Our Speciality Spirits Brand Champion 2017, Gruppo Campari-owned Aperol saw high-double-digit growth in its full-year results thanks to “continued brand building” and new activations. While engaging with fans is not the brand’s strongest point, its colourful Italian-inspired signature serve-led imagery is a huge drawing point. The brand is set to employ a three-phase growth model – focusing on on-premise seeding and experiential events in potential markets, deseasonalising the serve, and leveraging “new usage occasions” such as the meal occasion market – all likely to further bolster the brand’s social media appeal.
5. Havana Club
Facebook fans: 2,138,715 | Twitter followers: 6k | Instagram followers: 23.8k
Engagement 8 | Frequency 7 | Creativity 9 | Consistency 9 | Overall score 33
Havana Club’s Instagram page views more than a blogger or influencer than that of a spirit brand – aimed at championing ‘the people behind the rum’ the page boasts jaw-dropping panoramic shots, characterful portraits of locals, and colourful street images: a real insight into Cuba. Posts across its various channels are carefully thought-out, regular and varied: a blend of recipes, competitions, product news and historical snippets.
4. Bombay Sapphire
Facebook fans: 1,027,737 | Twitter followers: 2.8k | Instagram followers: 18.7k
Engagement 9 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 9 | Consistency 8 | Overall score 35
Slick imagery, suited and booted bartenders, and cocktail creation in action: Bombay Sapphire plays the premium card well. The brand’s Glasshouse Project, which seeks to identify how cultural, social and economic influences and trends can affect gin consumption and cocktail style, has generated a wealth of content for its social channels, as has ‘The Grand Journey’ – a series of experimental taste and sensory events inspired by the 10 “botanical locations” used to create its gin. Over Christmas, Bombay Sapphire collaborated with artists and designers to recreate “traditional” festive gifts, at the same time rolling out a selection of cocktails via a series of ‘how-to’ videos to encourage the trade and consumers to recreate them in their outlets or at home.
Facebook fans: 3,481,265 | Twitter followers: 24.5k | Instagram followers: 58.2k
Engagement 9 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 8 | Consistency 10 | Overall score 36
Irish Distillers-owned Jameson has long dominated Irish whiskey, and is deftly using its goliath social media presence to recruit millennial drinkers to the category through a flurry of festival activations – Jameson, Ginger & Lime, anyone? – sporting references, and lifestyle-led imagery. The brand is fully immersed in the creative industries: commissioning artists to design its bottle, hosting film-making competitions and partnering with live music acts, and is near-enough fully responsive to its online fans – showing fellow whiskey-makers how social media is done.
2. Rémy Martin
Facebook fans: 1,775,782 | Twitter followers: 16k | Instagram followers: 36.7k
Engagement 9 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 9 | Consistency 9 | Overall score 36
Also leading the digital charge is Cognac house Rémy Martin, which has harnessed the power of social media influencers and celebrity ambassadors alike. Strong, aspirational imagery adorns its dedicated global and regional accounts, with engaging dialogue that sets itself apart from the fluffier accounts of its Cognac peers. Its compelling marketing campaign, One Life/Live Them, continues to give the brand an edge.
1. Sailor Jerry
Facebook fans: 559,752 | Twitter followers: 27.6k | Instagram followers: 140k
Engagement 10 | Frequency 9 | Creativity 8 | Consistency 10 | Overall score 37
This year’s Social Media Hero is William Grant & Sons-owned rum brand Sailor Jerry. By diligently interacting with commenters, demonstrating an unprecedented grasp of its target demographic through a carefully curated house style, and emphasising its brand story by celebrating tattoo artists and independent companies from around the globe, Sailor Jerry has established a true sense of community for fans. In various countries and in various forms, Sailor Jerry has launched a series of road trip events, activations, campaigns and documentary releases – representing huge opportunities to invite consumers to connect with the brand in various ways both on and offline.