Turning beer pink doesn’t make the alcoholic beverage any more appealing to women. While this may seem obvious to beer and non-beer drinkers alike, Molson Coors gave it a try anyway, launching the “Animee” brand in 2011. This brand offered three flavors of lightly sparkling beer — one of which was actually colored pink in an attempt to attract the ladies.
Other brewing companies are trying similar techniques and launches to try to get women on board with their beverages.
Currently, women only account for one fifth of the world’s beer drinkers, and brewers view them as an untapped segment of the market that could drastically improve sales of their products. Beer consumption has fallen over the last decade, now accounting for less than half of all alcohol consumed in the United States. Just 10 years ago it accounted for 72%.
Brewers don’t see many new opportunities for growth among the their current male, working-class demographic, but women, on the other hand, are an untapped market.
SAB Miller, the maker of Peroni, is one brewing company focusing its future marketing efforts on attracting more women to its products. In a marketing conference in London last week, where the South African company is headquartered, SAB Miller marketing director Nick Fell said that it could be 20 years before they start to see their marketing efforts towards women pay off, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
The brewer’s future marketing techniques will include creating more flavorsome beers, as well as creating an association between their beer and distinct experiences. SAB Miller plans to pair its beer with mixed gender parties and casual and formal meals, BBQs, socializing among colleagues and hanging out at the bar.
SAB Miller plans to launch its new marketing efforts within six months, with bigger marketing tactics being rolled out after smaller efforts are tested first. The company recognizes that not all of their ideas will work, but they hope to ultimately find the key to getting women interested in beer, instead of other types of alcoholic beverages.
As beer companies around the world test out their attempts to attract the female demographic, they need to be cautious not to offend their audience with sexist tactics in the process. Once a consumer is turned off by a product, brand or marketing campaign, it’s not easy to regain their loyalty.
“Reaching a new audience is not an exact science. Sometimes great ideas fail miserably and other times breakthroughs come from the most unexpected places. The key for companies is to understand the values, motives, beliefs, likes/dislikes, and tolerances of the audience they’re targeting. Companies can’t be afraid to look outside of their current models and go where their audience is sending them,” says Jason Polsgrove, Digital Marketing Strategist, Go Vertical Creative.
Another brewer, Carlsberg, attempted to attract female drinkers with a beer called “Copenhagen.” Rolled out in 2011 and positioned as an alternative to white wine and champagne, this beer was marketed as a way to give women a beer that matches their style, noting that women often reject beers that don’t have an appealing design. Copenhagen was itself rejected, however, sending the brewing company back to the proverbial drawing board.
And as for that pink beer? Despite high hopes on the part of Molson Coors, and a marketing campaign which positioned the “Animee” brew as a bloat-resistant, “real choice” for women, the brand was given the boot just 12 months after its debut.