Marketing Wine in the Digital Space

Understanding alcohol laws as they pertain to marketing is confusing. It's hard. It's messy. It's frustratingly outdated. That's why there are lawyers out there who specialize in this field (I'm lookin' at you, Strike & Techel.) This is also why I keep writing about it. 

I've written a few blog posts about this topic but while I have mentioned this idea, I thought it would be good to write about just this one idea:

Work Creatively within the Laws

As digital marketers, we have to work hard to get the attention of the consumer. As digital marketers in wine/beer/spirits, we have to work much, much harder. 

Example: Shares on your content. If that consumer's network is primarily under 21, they will not see your page which means the reach goes down. (TIP: make sure your Facebook page is set to "alcohol-related." Do it. Now.)

Example: Shares by a large brand, outside of your industry, the holy grail of social marketing: the third-party endorsement. Same thing applies. 

Example: You're tied by tied-house. Ok, so how do you work creatively within that law? 1) You find out the state laws and post targeted status updates to just those states where mentioning the venue of an educational wine dinner is legal. 2) You accept that this is the way it is and focus on the things in your control, like quality content that your community wants to talk about or an event where you are pouring (that isn't the name of a retailer, of course.)

Example: Instagram does not have an age-gate. Tips: Don't blindly follow back. Be diligent in who you interact with. Running an Instagram contest? You have some options: all entrants (those who use the contest hashtag) are required to complete an affidavit showing they are 21+ and do not work for a licensee -OR- you collect entrants on a third-party platform where they have to confirm they are 21+ by entering their age/birthdate or checking the box in affirmation.

Example: Each tweet won't fit the responsible advertising statement and there is no age-gate on Twitter either. Fix: Ensure that your bio includes "must be 21+ to follow" so that you are in compliance.

Example: Your event is full of 21 year olds who look 16. I'll admit it, I'm getting older and I swear kids these days should not be driving because I'm pretty sure they're all 9. The conservative stance on this is: everyone in your imagery must look over 25, even if they are over 21. How do you distinguish between a 21 year old and a 25 year old? I'm not exactly sure but if you feel iffy, don't post it.

Example: According to the government, alcohol does not make you better/stronger/faster/prettier/smarter/sexier/more authoritative/more confident...contrary to what you and your friends may think.