COMMENT: marketing's gender battle
Two new campaigns emphasise the importance of new consumer markets to the drinks industry. While real ale strives to attract more female drinkers, Strongbow cider is trying to compete with lager for the "LAD" market. Both campaigns are fighting unfavourable perceptions within the target market, indicating the strength of competition we can expect to see in the drinks industry over the next few years.
In a strange crossover caused by different attempts to reach new consumer markets, Strongbow cider is now competing for the young male market, while real ale is hoping to attract female drinkers.
Bulmer, owners of Strongbow, have dispensed with its "Live to loaf" campaign and focused on much more direct competition with other long alcoholic drinks (LADs). Currently the top selling LADs are all lagers - however, Strongbow hopes to be the seventh best selling LAD in 18 months time.
The strategy for this lies in mimicking the laddish tone set by lager adverts such as Carling, Carlsberg and Foster's. Three separate ads are planned for Strongbow, all centering around the slogan "Get a thirst first".
The tone of these ads is directly comparable to the tone of adverts for the top-selling LADs. Bulmer are keen to break into this market and develop a new consumer base, because their original market is fairly mature - few current cider drinkers are going to drink more cider because of an advertising campaign.
CAMRA is facing much the same problem. Sales of real ale to men have fallen off recently - due to the success of lager in attracting young male drinkers - and so the organisation is now targeting a traditionally unfriendly consumer segment - young females. There are some obstacles to overcome - 17% of women think beer is unfashionable, and a similar percentage believes it will make them fat.
In order to combat this, CAMRA has developed an icon for the female consumption of beer - Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer. Loosely based on a Sumerian brewing deity, Ninkasi is intended to present a "powerful, iconic" image of a woman - who drinks beer.
These two new campaigns demonstrate the importance to drinks manufacturers of developing new markets in order to promote growth. The search for new consumers will greatly increase the competitiveness of the drinks industry over the next few years.
Related research: Datamonitor, "Going Out" (DMCM0082)
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