Top 10 spirits brands on social media

19th June, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

Social media is ubiquitous in modern marketing, but how do spirits brands use their platforms effectively? Here, SB announces the Social Media Hero from our Brand Champions report.

SB presents the top 10 spirits brands on social media

SB presents the top 10 spirits brands on social media

Social media has become an increasingly important avenue for promotion in the spirits industry. It gives brands a fresh way to communicate with their consumers, offering a scale of interaction that has previously not existed.

It’s imperative for brands to create powerful campaigns to gain the trust of consumers and to drive sales – and, as such, the global spirits industry is home to some of the biggest spenders on marketing and advertising.

Leading producers Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardí pledged to develop robust new responsibility standards for digital marketing after signing an agreement in September 2017. The standards are designed to “reassure others” that advertising is only directed to “adults who can lawfully buy our products”.

The obvious hurdle of connecting with an age­-appropriate audience has seen a number of firms come under fire. In November last year, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Facebook advertisement by Absolut Vodka for featuring people who appeared to be under the age of 25.

In the same month, an investigation by The Times discovered that adverts for Diageo, as well as other leading consumer goods companies, were shown on YouTube videos featuring inappropriate footage of children. As a result, Diageo enforced “an immediate stop” to all its YouTube advertising.

Furthermore, the UK drinks giant suspended its advertising on Snapchat in January. The move followed a ruling by the ASA that a sponsored lens for Diageo’s Captain Morgan rum brand appealed to people under the age of 18 and therefore breached the ASA’s code.


And it’s not just the brands that have to be cautious when it comes to promotions. In April 2018, hip-­hop producer DJ Khaled overhauled his social media platforms after being called out for failing to mark alcohol­-sponsored posts as ads.

DJ Khaled was using sites such as Snapchat and Instagram to teach his followers about his favourite alcohol brands, featuring bottles of Cîroc, Belaire wine, D’Ussé Cognac and Bumbu rum “prominently”. Within a week of receiving a written warning, DJ Khaled deleted or edited all alcohol­-related posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to include #AD.

Recent research carried out by drinks specialist agency YesMore found that a number of spirits brands under parent companies such as Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi, are moving away from Twitter as a means of engaging with consumers. More than 40% of the accounts tracked hadn’t posted in the previous month, and almost a third of brands had been quiet for three months. More than one in five had not engaged on Twitter for over a year.

Tom Harvey, new­-client director at YesMore, said core brands have overstretched themselves on social media. Spirits companies typically have a minimum of three social media accounts (usually Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), but keeping these up to date and responding to consumers is a labour­-intensive task and, increasingly, companies are reluctant to hand the work to an unskilled intern. For those brands that continue to hone their online presence within an enormous crowd of category competitors, it seems a focus on original content, high levels of engagement and clever marketing is the way forward.

With this in mind, we evaluated brands’ performance on what we believe to be the three most crucial social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Within the judging criteria, we looked at: the number of likes, shares, comments, retweets and favourites; the frequency and creativity of posts; with a focus on global accounts, where possible.

Looking at brands’ platforms, particularly those that made our latest list, an increased focus on video has been noticeable. Those that excelled tended to make use of timely content, eye­-catching and interactive posts, and compelling competitions.

Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 spirits brands on social media.

The list has been compiled as part of The Spirits Business‘s Brand Champions report, which is available to view here. As such, it includes only brands that sell more than one million nine-litre cases annually.

These figures are based on research conducted by The Spirits Business in May 2018, and so the majority of brands included have most likely grown their followers and fans since.

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