A new study by two marketing groups (Evolve Media and Havas Media) says that Millennials buy pricey alcohol so that they can post pictures of themselves drinking “cool” brands on Facebook and Instagram (or, given their generation, more likely Snapchat), impress their friends and gain social capital.
The study, titled “Behind the Bottle: An Exploration of Trends in the Spirits Category,” found that 42 percent of adults aged 21-and-up, not just Millenials, say that digital media helps them “get ideas and recommendations of what spirits to buy.” Just 24 percent cited dorky old media, like TV, print publications and radio, as inspiration for their alcohol purchases. The most common influence was “word of mouth,” with 59 percent saying it was a factor. Then again, given the likelihood that for many Millennials, “word of mouth” means (or at least includes) social media, the real social media percentage may be even higher.
And according to the study, 28 percent of Millennials endorsed the statement “I sometimes order a premium brand just to impress my peers,” compared to only 11 percent of Baby Boomers.
As the press release puts it, “knowledge of spirits is becoming social currency among Millenials.”
In addition to posting on social media, consumers choose brand-name alcohol more frequently when entertaining and giving gifts than when drinking alone, further evidence of the “showing off” component of choosing booze.
So how will alcohol companies, at whom the report is directed, capitalize on the earth-shattering news that Millennials are all about the social media?
James Chase, the marketing director at Chase Distillery, says that he’s been specifically targeting Millennials via social media for the past six months, and is seeing results: “We have seen an increase in terms of engagement” with the brand, with “this age group sharing content [i.e. advertisements] within their own communities on social.”
“We see Millennials ‘brand-calling’ more and more as a sign to their friends that they know what they are talking about,” he says.
Oh good, “brand-calling.” The future is fun.