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Marketing the Holiday Spirits: IRL Campaigns for 21+ Millennials

Yes, digital marketing is important, but Millennial consumers thrive on experiences. Today we’re shining a spotlight on beer and alcohol brands with campaigns that take holiday spirits off-screen and deliver in real life.

It goes without saying that digital marketing is a vital part of trying to capture Millennials, and of course many brands are leaning heavily on online campaigns for the holidays. Stella Artois recently became the first beer to advertise on Instagram, appealing to Millennial drinkers. The social campaign features six images that integrate Stella into holiday food scenes, and mirror some of the foodie pics that are popular on the platform. Meanwhile, multiple retailers are hoping to attract young consumers with holiday apps and digital shopping tools that put omnichannel and tech front and center.

But while Millennial consumers have come to expect digital campaigns, they thrive on experiences, and brands that can provide those IRL (in real life) unexpected and memorable moments have more of a chance of forging a connection while giving them a reason to share that brand impression with friends. The holidays are a season when offline is potentially more important than ever, and it makes sense that in these social months of holiday parties and happy hours, beer and spirits brands would be the first take the opportunity to create unique experience-based marketing. Here are two campaigns taking holiday spirits off-screen and deliver in real life:

Johnnie Walker x Uber / Budweiser x LYFT

Overindulging during the holidays is not unusual, and to help that overindulging stay responsible, Johnnie Walker is partnering with Uber to give away 250,000 kilometers of free rides in London, Manchester and Leeds during the holiday season. To launch the campaign, the brand had Formula 1 drivers show off their skills and provide rides around Edinburgh in souped up sports cars. But Johnnie Walker is not the only brand to make safe rides home more fun for the holidays: Recent rumors that Budweiser would be dropping their traditional Clydesdales in order to appeal to Millennials made the rounds were quickly squashed by the brand, who has partnered with LYFT to give holiday partiers safe rides home in Boston with a promo code that gives them their first ride free. But to make it memorable, the brand also enlisted the help of the Clydesdales, giving some lucky LYFT users have been the surprised of a horse-drawn carriage instead of a car to take them home, jingling all the way.

Why It Works: Both the Uber and LYFT partnerships take the potentially thorny and un-merry topic of driving drunk and manage to make it fun, while surprising consumers with unforgettable and highly sharable experiences. 

Heineken #SparkMyParty

Heineken’s holiday campaign rewards online participation with offline treats. This weekend, the brand asked followers in New York to use the hashtag #SparkMyParty for the chance to be delivered a holiday party kit that included music, decorations, “treats,” and, of course, beer. Participants needed to tweet @Heineken_US with the reason they deserved the loot, and winners were surprised shortly after with holiday party boosters like “a live DJ, a roomful of balloons, and event photographer, and…Uber gift cards.” For even bigger holiday spirit delivery, the brand has also partnered with UrbanDaddy to throw “epic” parties for lucky winners in cities across the U.S.

Why It Works: The SparkMyParty campaign rewards young (legal age) consumers for their social participation, but also plays with the concept of on-demand, delivering an instant-party wherever it might be needed.