Alcohol and apps in new mix

24 December 2013
NEW YORK: Alcohol brands have been linking up with transport apps over the festive period, offering consumers help in getting home while portraying themselves in a responsible light.

Miller Lite has partnered with Hailo, a smartphone app that connects people to licensed cabs, to give away $1m in cab rides in Chicago over four weeks. Participants obtain a $10 Hailo discount code by visiting select bars where the brand is served. They can redeem the by downloading the Hailo app and using it to summon a taxi.

Similar schemes are operating in Boston and New York, aligned with other MillerCoors brands, with users encouraged to share their experience on social media. Kim Marotta, the brewer's director of sustainability, told Advertising Age that the company had been moving away from a corporate voice for responsibility advertising and towards an alignment with brands and doing so in a "social-media appealing way".

Ciroc, the Diageo-owned vodka, is meanwhile offering $25 discounts on Uber, an app that uses the GPS capabilities of a consumer's phone to detect their location before connecting them to the nearest available driver, with subsequent payments for the ride also being taken via mobile.

But Ciroc is first seeking commitments on social media from 10,000 people never to drink and drive before it will activate the offer on New Year's Day and the relevant code will only be available to new Uber users.

Elsewhere, tequila maker Patron Spirits is also running a tie-up with Uber, but their $10 discounts are being offered only to existing members of its Patron Social Club, an online fan site.

And Heineken brand Newcastle Brown Ale has produced a limited edition beer – Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale – with POS display offering a $5 credit towards a cab fare booked via the Magic Taxi app. And if that option isn't available in a particular city, consumers can send a text message to enter for the chance to win free cab rides home for one year.

"We wanted to get across a responsible consumption message," said Quinn Kilbury, Newcastle brand director. "But we wanted to do it in a way that was consistent with our brand's tone … and in a very entertaining fashion that also could sell some beer."

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff
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