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San Miguel taps desire for 'rich' experiences

News, 02 May 2017
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LONDON: Millennial consumers value experiences more than possessions, an attitude that San Miguel, the Spanish beer brand, believes is no passing fad and one that can underpin its strategy for some time to come.

Last year San Miguel introduced its alternative Rich List – 20 individuals from around the world who live life on their own terms and whose experiences it featured in social media channels, advertorials and newspaper supplements.

That campaign sought to set the brand apart from its rivals by associating it with experiences and the growing trend among British consumers for trying beers from around the world.

It achieved its aims so successfully – UK consumers spent £470m drinking 180m pints – that it is returning this year.

"It's going to continually be a focus for consumers and an entire generation as they get older," said senior brand manager Dharmesh Rana of the desire for experiences.

"They're going to take that with them, and technology enables it all as well," he told The Drum. "It's the right track for us to go down."

He pointed out that people are travelling more and experiencing different foods, drinks and cultures – and different brands.

"When they come [home] they want to replicate that experience to a degree," he said, adding that there is an "absolutely clear space" for a brand like San Miguel to occupy.

Where the 2016 Rich List campaign focused on retelling stories of individuals, the 2017 version will have more of an experiential focus, culminating in a three-day event in central London.

"We want to be known as an experience brand as well as a premium beer brand," said Rana, "encouraging our customers to share those experiences with friends over a pint of a San Miguel."

In doing so, it is following a path well-trodden by other drinks brands exploring new marketing options in a heavily regulated category.

Heineken, for example, recently reported a "huge success" for an experiential event in Cape Town, a local adaptation of its #ShapeYourCity campaign in which it encouraged drinkers toget out of their comfort zones to experience new parts of the cities they lived in.

And whisky brand Johnnie Walker has established a number of Johnnie Walker Houses around the world which, in addition to the brand experience, offer art installations and interactive experiences.

Data sourced from The Drum, Event; additional content by WARC staff

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