In a move that may be perceived as another effort at shoring up revenues, Google have stated that they will now permit advertising of “hard alcohol and liquor” on their Adwords advertising system in the US. The relaxing of these restrictions was ostensibly due to a response to “advertiser feedback we’ve received over the years”. It also looks as though this change could be rolled out into other markets as Google state on their official blog that “plans to expand this updated alcohol policy to other countries in accordance with local regulations are expected in the coming week”
The new ads however must not lead to a site where hard alcohol can be purchased. Instead the website that the user lands on may contain product information, recipes or promote a brand.
Whatever your opinion of why Google has decided to allow advertising on these products, from an advertisers perspective the key question is how to capitalise on the new opportunities that arise. For some of the leading sprit brands, this is a question of reinforcing their brand with the type of alcohol which they are associated, below are some examples…
• “Smirnoff” Vodka
• “Gordon’s” Gin
• “Bells” Whisky
These are all household names and are commonplace is many licensed premises – in many instances these brands will be what is served as a matter of course when a customer asks for a “Vodka, Gin or Whisky” for example. As advertisers are still restricted from actually selling through Adwords the key is to increase awareness, interaction and possible footfall.
Google Adwords ads can be a useful device in enacting the above marketing opportunities. Fluid Creativity would make the following suggestions for a possible PPC campaign for Smirnoff. Run an ad on the term “Vodka” so that the brand Smirnoff becomes more synonymous with Vodka – there are over 500,000 UK searches each month. Smirnoff Red is the most well known of their products but the company also produce Smirnoff Blue and Black which are higher in alcoholic strength but much less commonplace. These could be promoted in the adcopy, for those who do not simply choose the cheapest / non descript Vodka or even Vodka Connoisseurs, the market is wide open with competition from Absolut, Stolichnaya and Zubrowka to name but a few. As 99% of the population know what Vodka is, those searching on Google will possibly be looking for a greater depth of information. These are exactly the sort of users who might be persuaded of the merits of one premium brand over another.
However, one aspect which would be difficult to quantify is ROI as there is no end purchase directly attributable to the PPC campaign. This is of course true of any branding exercise, but the problem which the company might face is that one of the main benefits of PPC is that you can quantify the return on investment very precisely. One solution could be to create an action on the site, e/g a sign up or a recipe download (Smirnoff Black is popular cocktail vodka) and also to more broadly monitor sales of the subsidiary products since the start of the PPC campaign.