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IAB Digital Mixology Playbook Serves Up Expert Insights & Actionable Guidance on Interactive Marketing for Spirits, Wine & Beer Brands

As glasses of rosé are being tossed back amidst the hubbub of the annual Cannes Lions Festival, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released “The IAB Digital Mixology Playbook,” an in-depth whitepaper that showcases expert opinion from creatives, alcoholic beverage marketers and publishing executives, distilling trends and providing actionable insights for spirits, wine and beer brands to successfully reach their target audience via digital screens. The paper provides guidance on navigating the challenges in marketing alcoholic beverages in the U.S. given regulatory standards, while offering inspiring examples of leading edge campaigns that leverage digital creatively in order to excite, delight and heighten brand awareness, as well as sales.

With Millennials so intrinsically connected to devices that they rank “technology use” as the single biggest attribute for their generation*, the paper observes that this dynamic demographic is best engaged by liquor, wine and beer brands through interactive, relevant digital communications timed to their after-work or nightlife moments.

“At Foursquare, we've seen this phenomenon in full-force,” said Steven Rosenblatt, Chief Revenue Officer, Foursquare, one of the publishing executives interviewed in the whitepaper. “By convincing these boozy marketers to embrace creative campaigns on mobile, our own revenue from spirits brands was up 600 percent for the first two quarters of 2014 versus all of 2013. Adult consumers have a drink in one hand and their mobile phone in their other hand. If you are an alcoholic beverage marketer, ad creative, or other digital publisher, it would be wise to pay heed to this finding in the IAB Digital Mixology Playbook in order to secure that last impression with the consumer when they are ordering the drink or at the last 100 feet to the bar.”

Underscoring the strong opportunity for alcoholic beverage brands to reach key consumers through digital, the whitepaper also includes exclusive research from IAB and Prosper Insights that shows that adults that plan to spend more on liquor, wine or beer in the next 90 days are heavy users of mobile devices, and more than half of those (55%) are also Millennials:

  • 83 percent of drinkers own smartphones, in sharp contrast to the general U.S. population (65%)
  • One out of three say that their mobile phone “is their life”
  • 52 percent of drinkers own a tablet versus 43 percent of average Americans over 21
  • Drinkers are much more likely to use mobile coupons (32% vs 26%) or text offers (49% vs 40%) than the general population
  • They are much more inclined to make purchases on mobile devices in comparison to the typical U.S. consumer (38% vs 25%)

“The liquor industry has long been associated with all that is social, and digital marketing is a prime platform for extending and reinforcing engagement opportunities,” said Sherrill Mane, Executive Vice President, Research, Analytics and Measurement, IAB. “This paper crystallizes the benefits that spirits, wine and beer marketers can take advantage of by shifting more dollars to digital, while offering savvy and creative expertise on how to meet some of the challenges that the industry faces in doing so.”

The “IAB Digital Mixology Playbook” builds upon last year’s IAB Cannes Lions session theme of “Liquid Creativity,” defined as ad creative that spans across media channels, using a variety of canvases to tell brand stories.

“The fact that this report covers ‘Liquid Creativity’ for the liquor industry is irresistible word play, but more importantly points to a marketing imperative for brands in this category,” said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “Mobile and cross-screen creative campaigns can provide the inherent geo-targeting that is so essential when it comes to alcoholic beverage advertising. Moreover, our research shows that drinkers are mobile enthusiasts, as are Millennials. That’s quite a potent mix, to say the least.”

Bager will be moderating Tech Talk sessions on mobile and video at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, David Doty, Executive Vice President and CMO, IAB, will be part of the festival’s “Art Meets Advertising Remix” Forum sessions, speaking with Christine Cook, Head of Advertising Partnerships, Flipboard, on the topic of “Small Size, Big Impact: When Beautiful Creative Meets Mobile Screens.”

To download the complete “IAB Digital Mixology Playbook,” please visit


IAB conducted a custom analysis of syndicated Prosper Insight data to look at consumer and mobile behaviors of ‘Drinkers’, or Americans age 21 and over who plan to spend more on beer, wine or alcohol in the next 90 days as compared to the general population of adults 21 and over in the US. The report is derived from the Prosper Insights & Analytics, Monthly Survey (April 2014), Mobile Focus of 6,535 Adult 18+ respondents surveyed online, 6,196 of whom are 21 or over. The study has a margin of error of less than 1%, at a 99% confidence level.

*Nielsen Pop-Facts, 2013

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 600 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. The IAB empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. The organization educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

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