Authenticity is key for holiday marketing says expert

Promotions targeted around events and holidays in the calendar can be tricky to execute, but there are ways to do it authentically, according to a marketing expert.

Beer Cartel has just released its latest promotion in time for Easter, not conventionally a time for major beer promotions.

The Great Australian Easter Beer Hunt is a limited release craft beer pack that Beer Cartel has designed to be hidden in the same way as an Easter egg hunt.

Beer Cartel co-founder Geoff Huens said that the business was always looking to create new experiences for customers and had learnt a lot from 10 years of product innovation, including the development of the Beer Cartel Advent Calendar.

“Easter has always been a bit of a quiet period for us so I had always wanted to create something,” he said.

“We’d tried dark beer and chocolate beer-themed packs in the past but never really had much traction. Unilad shared an Easter Beer Hunt video a few years ago that had always stuck with me.

“Then last year one of our staff was telling us how he had organised an Easter Beer Hunt with friends in Canada where he’s from. That got me thinking, how can an Easter Beer Hunt be created as a pack for people to buy and be part of a new adult tradition?”

Alignment with brand values is a key consideration, according to Dr Jason Pallant, senior lecturer in marketing at Swinburne University of Technology’s Business School.

“It’s all about authenticity. Some of the worst examples [of marketing ideas anchored around a holiday] are if a product has nothing to do with the holiday, they just slap a sticker on and it’s not authentic to the brand or the holiday.

“It’s about trying to combine what the holiday marks and the traditions that are part of it and the brand and what fits with that.”

As part of this exercise in alignment, it was also important to consider alcohol as a regulated substance and ensure it conforms with alcohol advertising regulations – which some breweries in the past have overlooked in favour of the marketing power of nostalgia.

While the packaging was not pre-vetted by ABAC, Huens explained that they were always conscious of the latest ABAC decisions and undertake an internal a review of the product, which considers the code as well as current products in market.

“Beer Hunt pack it’s designed to be a nostalgic experience made for adults,” explained Huens.

“We ensured we were clear with the packaging so that it stated the word beer and also that it was for adults only.”

It also helps when consumers have already been introduced to similar ideas, Dr Pallant explained.

“We’ve obviously seen Christmas beer advent calendars become quite popular, and it’s because of that idea where you get a little gift every day and you’re trying new things and experimenting, and that fits very well with craft beer,” he said.

Building on previous promotions certainly impacted Beer Cartel’s NPD for The Great Australian Easter Beer Hunt.

“Launching a new product is always a bit of a risk and you never know exactly what to expect, we are lucky in the sense that we have lots of previous launches to lean on to give a new product the best chance of success,” explained Beer Cartel’s Geoff Huens.

”We’ve had lots of people engage with our other products, particularly our Beer Advent Calendar, and they’ve loved those experiences so that definitely assists when trying something new like this.

The Great Australian Easter Beer Hunt also feeds into trends that have seen consumers look for more experiential purchases.

“What we’re seeing is that it’s getting easier to buy products, so if I want a craft beer, there’s so many ways and places I can buy it,” said Dr Pallant.

“I can buy it from a retailer or online, a specialty store, direct from the brands. It becomes about what value does that channel add, and so part of that is going to be the combining of multiple beers into a selection and that experiential elements come in – that’s where they have to compete.”

Huens agreed, and said it was a key consideration when developing the idea for The Great Australian Easter Beer Hunt.

“More and more customers are looking for an experience across different categories, so I definitely see the experience as something people can get excited about. Putting the 8 beers in a box is the easy part, building the experience and everything around it takes a bit of thinking.”

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