<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=356467795076698&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Best Practices for Outdoor Alcohol Advertisers

October 2, 2023

Out-of-Home(OOH) advertising can be a great way to reach 21+ audiences while they are out and about and experiencing a city's nightlife. Alcohol brands seek to entertain and entice audiences. Their beverages and branding evoke a particular lifestyle and experience.

Outdoor advertising allows audiences to view your brand's ads in popular retail and restaurant areas. They can buy your alcohol brand immediately after seeing an ad, whether through a venue, a bar, a retail destination, or a liquor store.

But, Alcohol advertising comes with challenges. Some markets have strict rules and regulations on where they allow alcohol advertisements. How can advertisers navigate these challenges while still reaching their target audience?

In this article, you will learn outdoor advertising best practices for alcohol advertisers.

Best Practices for Alcohol Ads 1

Common Alcohol Advertising Objectives

Strategies vary by brand and their specific target audiences. But what alcohol brands have in common is that they are trying to reach adult audiences and get them to consume their goods. In the United States, the drinking age is 21+.

The goal is to get people buying and drinking your product while out. You might target certain bars that sell your brand or specific retailers like liquor stores and grocery stores that sell the product.

Here are the most common strategies and circumstances for alcohol advertising:

  • Nightlife and Downtown: One of the most common strategies is to target nightlife areas with many restaurants and bars. Although these areas may still reach some 18+ audiences, most bars and clubs only accept those over 21.
  • Liquor and Grocery Stores: Places that sell alcohol for home use offer just-in-time advertising opportunities. They allow audiences to see your advertisement and immediately act upon its CTA.
  • Events: Sporting events, like football games or other events, may be great opportunities for alcohol advertisers. They reach audiences while they are out having fun and celebrating.

Best Practices for Outdoor Alcohol Ads 2

Most Common Formats for Alcohol Advertising

There are many formats that advertisers use for alcohol advertising. Alcohol advertisers typically make use of high-impact formats such as Bulletins (Billboards) or Wallscapes. But there are a variety of formats that can be used, depending on the market's restrictions:
  • Billboards: Billboards are one of the most common formats for alcohol advertisers. Both static and digital Billboard options are popular. Many alcohol advertisers opt to do extensions on their advertisements. For example, they can add embellishments to the Billboard that match the shape of their bottle. This helps their ad stand out against traditional rectangular Billboards. It also shows clearly it is a beverage brand. Billboard alcohol advertisers often have goals of high frequency. They want the audience to have many opportunities to see the advertisement.
  • Posters: Posters often supplement a campaign with higher-impact formats like Billboards or Wallscapes. They can boost a campaign's frequency when placed on arterials near bars.
  • Transit: Sometimes advertisers can use Transit ads. But some markets are very restrictive or may ban alcohol advertising altogether. Moving formats are generally restricted in most markets. But in those markets, you may be able to advertise on nonmoving transit through Bust Shelters, posters and more. An OOH specialist can help you understand your market's format and placement restrictions.
  • Nontraditional OOH: There are also nontraditional options such as Mobile Billboards, bar coasters, and experiential. Knowing this and that OOH can be anything found outside the home, you may think - what about having a tasting? But, that is tricky to put in place because of the need to card and get proper licenses for the tasting.
  • Place-Based Advertising: Liquor and grocery stores and other place-based advertising venues may also allow for advertising. It depends on the product and what they will accept. Types of alcohol advertising allowed can vary significantly from state to state and even from city to city. In some places it is not allowed at all. There are other circumstances, such as targeting liquor stores where the brand is sold . You can also target specific events like football games. But when you are targeting stadiums, you must ensure that your brand is sold at that stadium. Stadiums will typically already have partnerships with specific alcohol companies.

Best Practices for Alcohol Ads 6

How Does Alcohol Advertising Follow the Customer Journey?

Depending on the advertiser's objectives, you have a few targeting options. For example, let's say people are traveling to a specific event. The advertiser could determine how people would get to that event and the media formats they would see along the way. For instance, if they go to a bar area, they may take a rideshare to get there. They may see signs advertising the brand on the rideshare tops, interior tablets, or video screens. While traveling to the area's downtown, they see alcohol Billboards and posters. Once they arrive at the bar, they see signage on the bar walls, in the bathrooms, and branded coasters. This reminds them that they can buy the beverage there.

Best Practices for Alcohol Ads 5

The best strategies ensure that audiences see your message many times throughout their journey. Another possible customer journey could be for a person who buys alcohol to consume at home. Then, you might target that person's commute patterns from their place of work or neighborhood, positioning OOH near and within retailers that sell your brand.

Some brands and markets may advertise for special events such as sporting events. In these cases, they would advertise along key arterials leading to and from the venue and, depending on the market, on transit. Some alcohol brands show their commitment to drinking responsibly through sponsored free rides programs on taxis, rideshare, and transit.

Best Practices for Alcohol Ads 5

Regulations to Be Aware of In Alcohol Advertising

Alcohol is a heavily regulated industry. Where you can advertise alcohol is also heavily regulated. However, these regulations vary significantly from market to market. An OOH specialist familiar with your target markets can tell you what you can and cannot do in your outdoor alcohol advertising strategy.

Certain ordinances of distances from schools and places where children may frequent are relatively stable across the board. But there are other regulations to be aware of. For example, some markets do not allow alcohol brands to advertise on transit. Other markets may require specific messaging on the advertisements. Advertisers may need to remind audiences to drink responsibly. They may need to include potential health risks associated with consuming alcohol. Sometimes, the type of alcohol advertised also matters. For example, in Dallas, you can run beer and wine ads on transit, but hard liquor is not allowed.

The media owner will also be aware of local laws regarding alcohol advertising and will have to approve any ad displayed on their inventory.

Alcohol advertisements cost the same as other ads. But you may face competition and higher premiums. Downtown and nightlife inventory is typically in high demand.

Best Practice for Alcohol Ads 8

What are Common Best Practices for OOH Alcohol Advertising?

There are a variety of best practices that alcohol advertisers should follow. Here are a few of the most common:
  • Plan and Buy Early: Alcohol advertisers, like many other brands, should buy their inventory in advance, especially since there are often so many restrictions. However, sometimes, there are still deals to be had at the last minute. If you want particular Billboards or other inventory in a market, planning and buying well in advance is always best. If you want basic coverage across a market, you will likely be able to get some inventory, even if it is last minute. Remember that summer and holiday seasons are the highest demand periods for OOH.
  • Buy in Bulk: Buying more outdoor advertising space can help you get deals. Also, buying ads for more extended periods can help you get discounts.
  • Do Due Diligence: Make sure you know the city ordinances. Know where you are not allowed as an alcohol advertiser.
  • Know your Objectives: Know what you are trying to achieve with your advertising and the target audience. If you have a particular demographic you are trying to reach, define that at the beginning. This will help you be as targeted as possible and research your audience's likely behaviors and movement patterns.
  • Clear Creatives: Your OOH creative plays a significant role in ensuring your message is clear. Make sure any writing is legible so audiences know what is being advertised.

Best Practices for Alcohol Ads 9

Create Intoxicating Outdoor Advertisements with Billups

At Billups, we have more than 20 years of experience helping brands to reach their audiences. We understand markets, their rules, regulations, and where your audience frequents. Let us help you put together an effective alcohol advertising campaign. We can work together to excite audiences about your brand. Contact us today to get started!

Get In Touch