Alcohol ad spending is on the rise: report

As online availability increases and hospitality lockdown closures persist, alcohol brands have been shifted more and more to digital media tactics.
research

Alcohol ad spend in 12 key markets, including Canada, will grow by 5.3% in 2021, ahead of the 4.9% growth of the ad market as a whole, according to new forecasts from Zenith published this week.

Depending on the jurisdiction, alcohol brands are typically not allowed to encourage higher consumption levels, and often resort to premiumization by building brand image and experience through mass-reach communication.

As a result, according to Zenith’s report, alcohol brands have relied heavily on television and out-of-home advertising, spending twice as much on television as the average brand and nearly four times as much on out-of-home in years past. Specifically, alcohol brands devoted 49% of their budgets to television in 2020, compared to 24% for the average brand, and 19% to out-of-home advertising, compared to 5%.

This tactic has become less effective as audiences shift to digital media and, although alcohol brands have historically been slow to adopt digital tactics, Zenith’s report indicates brands have increased their spending on digital media from 21% of budgets in 2019 to 24% in 2020. In order to capture the perennially at-home consumer, alcohol brands have also had to invest in owned assets such as brand websites and educational content, supported by influencers and trade partners to help engage consumers.

In Canada specifically, alcohol brands’ digital ad spend has increased drastically. They spent $17 million per year USD on digital media (on par with OOH) and $37 million USD on TV in 2015, but $97 million USD on digital media, $14 million USD on OOH and $27 million USD on TV this year. Projections see alcohol brands in Canada spending up to $110 million USD per year by 2023, versus $30 million USD on TV.

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