Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Spirits soar, beer goes flat

While sales for hard liquor inch up, the market share for beer has dropped.

Odd isn't it? Even though brewing companies are allowed to advertise on TV, people are buying less of it and turning to spirits, which do not advertise on TV.

Could it be that marketers of spirits -- having been regulated out of the mass advertising arena of TV -- have become the more effective advertisers? Research and under-the-radar strategies, including targeting younger drinkers exactly where they drink (bars, clubs), seem to be paying off.

The USAToday article also quotes Smith Barney Citicorp analyst Bonnie Herzog: '"We believe there is an overall image crisis with beer.'" Oh really? Ya mean that Coors "I love twins" concept isn't giving beer an upscale image? Shocking.

Look, brewers still have 56% of the market and they must know who they're talking to. But I'm just old enough to remember the Lowenbrau campaign from the mid-70s that made the beer look sexy, not just the women in the commercial. Could one advertiser -- just one -- please give us a break from barely clad hotties and slovenly Gen Y guys to make beer look appealing instead of like something that will just make me puking drunk? And those exercise-and-sex TV spots for your low-carb brands don't count.

I'm not saying it will get back your market share, but hell. It can't hurt.

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