Alcohol brands boost efforts to woo multicultural markets

Beer companies Heineken USA and Miller-Coors have continuously made connecting with Hispanics a priority through a variety of media platforms.

Ever since the US Census reported in March that Hispanics make up 16% of the population, a 43% increase over the last decade, many industries have been developing more initiatives to specifically target the growing demographic. Beer companies Heineken USA and Miller-Coors have continuously made connecting with Hispanics a priority through a variety of media platforms.

"We've always considered the Hispanic community an important stakeholder in our brand," says Daniel Mandelbaum, Hispanic brand director for Heineken USA. "The Census reinforced that decision we made 12 years ago."

Heineken, with the help of the company's Hispanic AOR, RL Public Relations, has recently been working on a number of campaigns for Hispanic consumers, specifically aimed at males aged 25 to 34. In July, Heineken and creative house Remezcla partnered to launch The Spot, a pop-up performance space in New York City designed to inspire and connect with consumers through Latin music and culture.

Striking the right note
"Music is a platform for Heineken and, in the Hispanic space, music is a core touchstone," says Melissa Smith, EVP of RLPR.

RLPR and MSLGroup, Heineken's general market AOR, worked together on the project to get the message out to various media and consumer bases.

With music as a key channel for Heineken's Hispanic outreach, the company is currently working on a 360-degree campaign for its sponsorship of the 12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in November. The new campaign will involve its ad agency, digital agency, brand experience agency, and RLPR "to create a concept that's going to excite and engage consumers nationwide."

MillerCoors, with a Hispanic consumer volume of about 13%, also has a few current multimedia campaigns targeting the market.

"We won't win if we do not win with the Latino consumer, especially as we move forward," says Al Patel, VP of multicultural marketing at the company.

In June, MillerCoors launched bilingual packaging on its bottles and cans in an effort to connect with consumers on the retail front, and recently, the company's been trying to reach the Hispanic community on a more grassroots level.

"We've gone from intellectually understanding the opportunity to a place where we fundamentally believe in it and we're acting in a different way," Patel explains.

Building an alliance with the Puerto Rican Day Parade, partnering with the Mexican Football Federation, and sponsoring the 2011 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Gold Cup are just a few strategies Miller-Coors is using to uniquely connect with Hispanic consumers.

Influential bloggers

X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
To better connect with African-American women on a fun, social media level, Fusion works with popular African-American entertainment news blogger Necole Bitchie, who includes Fusion in various blogs and tweets photos of herself drinking it.

With music, art, and culture as major components of its platform, Heineken works with two blogs, Mex and the City and Being Latino, to engage deeper with its Hispanic consumers.

Skyy and social media
Skyy Spirits is another company targeting a specific cultural group, African-American women, with its X-Rated Fusion Liqueur.

When Fusion was brought to the US from France six years ago, it targeted the general female audience because of its bright pink color and fruity flavor. About a year ago, Skyy began noticing trends with Fusion consumers in the African-American market, especially with the ideas of "diva" and "girls' night out," says Dave Karraker, Skyy's director of PR and events. From there, it began working with Alison Brod PR to target African-American females and now most outreach is done through social media.

"We've found in social media outlets that African-American women are among the highest percentage to interact with the page, particularly on Twitter," he adds. "They like to talk about the brands they love in social media and they do it very aggressively and frequently."

In addition to working with influential bloggers and hosting a "Diva of the Week" contest on Facebook and Twitter, Skyy does a number of traditional media activations, including hosting events at clubs and sponsoring the BET Awards Gifting Suite.

Karraker adds it is vital that every initiative engages the African-American demographic in a "meaningful, relevant way."

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