Can summer drinks be popular in winter?

22 November, 2017

Zoe Brown, head of account management at BD Network explores how drinks brands are extending summer momentum through to winter as we head towards the festive season.

It comes as no surprise that drink brands have such strong associations to summer and winter, especially given they are the peak times of year for generating maximum volume and impact. But how do brands open up their market to customers who only see their drink as just a summer tipple or a winter warmer?

With such a focus by so many drinks brands on associating summer fun and festivals, finding new ways for consumers to engage can be a challenge. Event effectiveness can be clearly seen during the summer months; drinks brands have a natural synergy with music events as they create an environment to showcase a lifestyle and culture allowing brands the chance to connect with their audience’s interests.

However, while working on summer events, it’s important for brands to look ahead to sustaining the relationship after the summer season gives way to autumn and winter, and a different, yet still exhilarating season of events come round.

Continuing these positive associations through to autumn and winter involves maintaining regular contact through creative and exciting campaigns, offering new promotions as well as ensuring your drink stays relevant.

Take for example, cider. Apples and pears are traditionally an autumn fruit. They are natural bedfellows of wintry flavours like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, so why continue to view cider as solely a summer tipple?

Some brands have caught onto this trend and are now beginning to focus more on the opportunities for cider in the colder months in order to keep a large proportion of their customers happy. During the winter months, people often turn to ciders that are fuller in flavour, richer and bolder.

Strongbow, for example, is trying a change of tack introducing new flavours like Dark Fruit in order to associate with the changing seasons. Magners also managed to keep themselves relevant through creative marketing by putting its own twist on the classic toffee apple with a Halloween tutorial showing revelers how to make their own seasoned fruit concoctions. The campaign shows apples dunked in litres of the new berry-flavoured cider before being dunked in deep purple toffee. The campaign was shaped to drive awareness and sales of the brand as a themed-Halloween tipple.

As the busy Christmas period rolls around, brands have even more opportunities to engage with consumers in new and interesting ways through themed events and parties.

In terms of trends, mulled cider for example, has grown to become hugely popular in the last few years, while cider cocktails are a fantastic way to add theatre to the bar and offer customers something extra special during the festive season. Or the ubiquitous gin and tonic which is also seen as a summertime staple is looking to be the spirit of choice this Christmas with gin-filled baubles, gin-flavoured mince pies, and even Christmas crackers with shots of gin inside.

Through some creative marketing, the brand is broadening its appeal but at the same time maintaining its core brand values that will build upon the loyalty of its existing customer base. Standing out in the festive season can be difficult, but innovative approaches and inspirational new drinks recipes can pay dividends with some audiences seeking fresh festive ideas.

Keywords: strongbow, Manners

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