The Next Wave of Wellness is Alcohol-Free
You’re familiar with sobriety, but have you heard of sober curiosity? Whole Foods anticipates that this will be one of the top trends of 2019, but we hesitate to call sober curiosity a trend at all. Instead, we’d categorize it as a larger lifestyle shift, as 30% of Americans don’t drink alcohol and in general, were drinking less overall. We recognize that sober curiosity differs from sobriety and those opting to experiment with sobriety have the privilege of choice. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the sober curious. Searches for the term “Sober Curious” spiked in 2019. Much of America has traded cocktails for early morning workouts and sleep hygiene, and many brands are meeting the consumer demand with alcohol replacements.
While we predict zero proof drinks will continue to rise, the popular mocktail is just an indication of the much larger sober curious lifestyle. There are a host of reasons why someone might need a non-alcoholic drink. An array of brands, influencers, and apps are aiming to reconstruct the perception of the sober curious lifestyle as a growing category. Removing alcohol often means reassessing social circles, establishments, and communities. Loosid App aims to quell some of the loneliness that can accompany a newly sober lifestyle by creating a digital like-minded community. The app connects abstaining users both online and IRL through live events and a dating app function. Brands like Ritual Zero Proof Spirits, Seedlip, and Heineken have all introduced alcohol-free replacements. The leisure category is changing and it’s time for our marketing strategies to catch up.
Brands must begin to showcase lifestyles that are representative of the sober curious, this work can start by speaking directly to your consumer through customer interviews. Campaigns focused on the booze-filled weekend as an escape from our busy lives could be missing the mark for many consumers. Brands can shoulder some of the heavy lifting to debunk the stigma associated with skipping a drink, alcohol-free bars, and alcohol-free communities. If you’re overwhelmed by taking this on alone, there is an active group of sober influencers that can help you. Consider tapping key players talking about sobriety in a realistic and empowering way like Africa Brooke, Stylishly Sober, or Hip Sobriety. Before your foray into the world of the sober curious, be sure to consult true sobriety experts to make sure your messaging is appropriate and won’t minimize those struggling with addiction.
Marketing Campaigns Guided by the Stars
Unless you’ve been avoiding the internet entirely, you know that Astrology is having a moment. According to the New Yorker, members of the Association for Young Astrologists have doubled in the past year. Many are citing the resurgence and widespread acceptance to a general uncertainty around global warming, an impending financial recession, unrest in our political systems, shall I go on? To put it simply, Millennials are significantly more stressed than our older counterparts and we’re looking to stars to explain what we don’t understand.
We’ve entered a new era of our astrological education: we’re fluent in natal charts, moon phases, and composite charts. Brands are speaking to the astrologically inclined and these stargazers are here for it. We took a look at recent marketing campaigns and came up with a few ground rules to apply to ensure the stars align between your campaign and your customers.
DO conduct ample social listening to ensure you’re speaking the way people actually talk about astrology. The true experts will be quick to roast you if you get it wrong.
DON’T use astrology as a subtly veiled rouse to sell more. We’re looking at you Amazon, with your horoscope shopping.
DO guide user experience based on zodiac signs, but ensure you’re not forcing consumers to opt-in. Consider Spotify’s cosmic playlists. Spotify partnered with a trained astrologist to create zodiac-specific playlists and promoted their release with help from queen Lizzo, herself. Bumble now allows users to filter their dating pool based on signs, and I can’t help but feel bad for the Geminis that never even have a shot.
DON’T participate in the incredibly active astrological meme culture unless you have the expertise and language to chime in on the conversation.
DO experiment with astrology and design. The practice of astrology is personal and self-guided and campaign design should reflect that. Consider Dooz, an astrologically inspired fashion company, or Uniqlo allowing users to filter clothing options based on their sign.
Astrology can be a fun and compelling way to personalize marketing campaigns and a safe way to participate in topical conversations. Although we can’t officially call astrology a science since it isn’t backed by research, brands who start throwing around astrological terms incorrectly are sure to be called out. We hope an astrology-themed campaign is in your stars, but if not, you can just blame it on Mercury being in retrograde.
Say Hello (Again) To Amaro
It’s the perfect holiday cocktail—and you don’t even have to mix it. Amaro, a type of Italian liqueur made by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, and fruit with alcohol and then combining the filtered liquor with sweet syrup, is complex, warming, and festive on its own. This type of liqueur is age-old and seems to make headlines every few years (2012, 2013, 2017). In that way, it’s really not a trend at all, but worth rediscovering anyways: Google searches for Amaro have been steadily increasing over the last five years.
New to this section of the liquor store? Me too. Here are some tips for getting started:
- The plural of amaro is Amari, so learn from my personal mistake and ask the clerk for the “Amari section,” to avoid sounding like a fool.
- Read the labels: Amari varies greatly, from light and citrusy to dark, caramelly, and spicy. A good starting place is Amaro Nonino Quintessentia. Our team did a taste-test, and its spiced citrus flavor is perfect for holiday sipping. We drank it neat for an authentic experience, but at 35% ABV, it’s great served as a spritzer, too.
- Better yet, do a tasting at a restaurant in place of dessert. (Try Tail Up Goat in D.C., Black Cat in Boulder, or Bar 821 in San Francisco).
- Try a few. With so many flavor combinations to choose from, experimentation is highly recommended. Contrast your bottle of Nonino with Zucca Rabarbaro, which is flavored with rhubarb.
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