I’ve never been on a road trip—a real road trip that is, like one across country or down the East Coast. But I imagine they’re fun, exciting, great learning experiences and make for an even greater story…maybe something to put on my Bucket List.
It’s the story part of the road trip though that’s got me thinking HIT.
Over the past year, I’ve been hearing about brands taking their story on the road and meeting fans along the way. This isn’t necessarily a new way of marketing (in the past, start up beverage brands have traveled in branded vehicles as a way of literally hitting the street and spreading the word on a new drink that’s on the market) but lately it’s been established brands that are going the distance to reconnect with their consumers on a more relatable platform. They’re tying into a hot trend, like food trucks, or a theme like American artisans or by letting fans be the roadmap through tweets and “Likes” on Facebook.
Freixenet, the leading sparkling wine brand in the world with roots that date back to 1861, launched a Tastings & Tapas Tour to reintroduce its cava, a famous sparkling wine from Spain, to consumers while pairing it with a range of tapas—the message, Freixent is for every day and can pair well with a variety of foods from spicy dishes to barbeque to sushi.
The Balvenie, a hand-crafted single malt scotch whiskey, hit the road this year with the Balvenie Rare Craft Roadshow, a nationwide search for the best craftsmen in the country from brewers, to vintners, cheese makers, tailors, apothecaries, bicycle makers and everything in between. Traveling to 20 states and 30 cities in a handcrafted Morgan Car (naturally) Balvenie ambassadors Andrew Weir and Nicholas Pollacchi honored artisans committed to their craft just as Balvenie, a brand produced by a fifth generation family-owned distillery, does. The tour, which was from March to October, was documented in a web series, which will later become a documentary.
Fernet-Branca, a bitter that is used widely among mixologists and dates back to 1845, also traveled the country this year—in a restored VW bus. The tour was powered by tweets where every tweet brings the bus closer to its next location. On its Facebook page The Fernet-Branca Tour tab has a TweetOMeter that measures the Tweet Fuel level. The more tweets @FernetBranca, the more miles the bus can go.
A brand that is said to be coveted by an “inner circle” of mixologists, was looking to broaden that circle with its consumers through interactive events, tastings and special cocktails.
At each stop, these brands got the chance to tell their stories and reignite some excitement among consumers by sharing common passions, whether it was done in person or from the virtual world. Either way, taking a brand on the open road is opening up opportunities.