Blog: Chris Brook-CarterShot to pieces

Chris Brook-Carter | 2 December 2003

Last Thursday, just-drinks was lucky enough to attend the drinks launch of Halewood International’s redSQUARE HOT SHOT at a nightclub in London. As promised on the invitation, “shot-fuelled fun” was had by all. There were shots of HOTSHOT, shots of Sidekick and they could all be washed down by soon-to-be launched redSQUARE vodka lager.

The shot market has a wealth of potential. The category is currently worth £150m, according to Neilson, while Mintel predicts sales growth in the sector of up to £100m over the next two years.

As the night was drunk and danced away, and fuzziness crept in, one concern remained prevalent in just-drinks’ head. Swaying on the platform waiting for the last Underground train, some of the drinks adverts on display started shouting rather loudly. One in particular read: “Your friends at Jack Daniel’s remind you to drink responsibly”.

A rummage through the pockets produced a bottle of HOTSHOT. At 20%ABV with a retail price of £4.49 for 35cl, the bottle contains the equivalent of two-and-a-half shots.

Let us clarify. A customer buys a bottle of HOTSHOT in a bar or nightclub, then downs the equivalent of two-and-a-half shots, probably as a chaser before drinking other beverages. Share it with a friend, perhaps? But who gets the half?

Having recently sealed a contract with the National Union of Students, and carrying an advertising strapline of “It’s not big, it’s not clever,” in these days of binge-drinking paranoia in the UK media, Halewood looks to be blowing raspberries at the consensus of opinion that youngsters nowadays are drinking too much, too quickly.

While innovation within the industry such as redSQUARE’s vodka lager is to be applauded, the marketing of these products is going to come under closer and closer scrutiny, and needs to be handled with kid gloves, to make sure the kids are alright.


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