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Cal State Long Beach - Absinthe Advertising Campaign Project

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Hi we are a group from a CSULB marketing advertising class.

We found out we have to do an advertising campaign on a product category and brand of our choice and so being the college students that we are we thought hey why not pick the "badass" of all alcohol, ABSINTHE!

 

This is a huge project and roughly makes up a 1/3 of our grade. And so after much research and group discussions on this project we need some help to complete our assignment.

 

this is the current layout of our project:

 

1. marketing objectives

2. situation analysis

3. key strategic decisions:

a. advertising objectives

b. advertising strategies

c. target audience

d. product image and personality

4. creative plan

5. media plan

 

If anyone has any experience with marketing or advertising and would like to give us some counseling, the help would be more than welcome smile.gif... We currently have about 7 pages written up for these 5 sections listed above and we would love to have anybody give us feed back on our work. We could write about 3 pages just talking about the setup and plans for this project so if you have any questions please ask.

 

Also the brand we have chosen is La Fee Parisienne. It wasn't until after we started the project that we found out this brand had received some not so good reviews. But we like a challenge so we are probably going to stick through with it smile.gif. also we are only focusing on the US market.

 

if anyone knows of any resources to help us with our project, those would also be greatly appreciated.

 

 

below are some specific questions we need some help with:

 

1. We currently know Bevmo, costco and drink up Ny sells absinthe. are there any other retailer/distributors?

 

2. what should be our target market?

 

3. what is the market share of absinthe in comparison to other spirits? to all of alcohol?

 

4. what is the market share of La Fee in comparison to other Absinthes?

 

5. What media (print, tv, internet etc.) would be most effective in advertising La fee absinthe?

 

 

 

thank you all for any input!,

csulb mktg group

 

 

this is also posted in the absinthe review forum. on the forum you can check out the attachment to see our current work

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Just a note to all, I'd asked these guys to post this here, because I thought a lot of the distillers might be interested in sharing some of their marketing stories.

 

I know you said it's too late to change brands, but man, I sure hope you do. :) Honestly, much of the brand specific research you've done wouldn't take too long to compile for another brand, especially if you're working directly with the producers.

 

Anywho, good luck, and I look forward to talking to you soon.

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Who will be willing to help create an advertising campaign to help La Fee? Do true absinthuers have to take a moral stand here? Very interesting...

 

The project sounds great and it could even have some unintended far-reaching effects. I'd go with a legitimate absinthe, perhaps one distilled by one of our member-distillers. It could help everyone!!!

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The fact that the absinthe is low-end in terms of quality and reputation only shifts the target market and strategy. Like a lawyer, an ad exec doesn't get to chose their case, they have to argue for their client, no matter who they are.

 

So, La Fée.

Product benefits:

 

Availability (this is a HUGE benefit while absinthe is still hard to find)

 

Relatively low price

 

Shelf-Stable, attractive color:

(more a benefit to sellers than to consumers) The green of La Fée is artificially produced, but is more attractive and believable than most other artificially-colored products. The naturally-colored absinthes will begin to turn brown quickly in the bottle especially if, like La Fée, they are stored in a clear bottle. La Fée's clear bottle lets the consumer see the attractive color, but the shelf-stable artificial coloring isn't degraded by this exposure.

 

Entry-Level taste:

this brand, with its high sugar content and low-but-not-absent wormwood content, is the absinthe a total newcomer is likely to favor over the more complex and demanding flavors of better products. In other words, this is a lowest-common-denominator product aimed at appealing to the largest number of palates.

 

Another thing you have going for you is the logo. Everybody likes the eye, even the folks that hate the product. Their spoon, with the eye logo, has always been one of the best-liked and one of the biggest after-market sellers on ebay.

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Sorry you're trying to market a product that sucks and just barely qualifies as absinthe. Which professor did you piss off to get that assignment? ;)

 

Why work with LaPee? Starting with a new American absinthe that has a quality reputation but not the funding for marketing seems way more interesting than an artificially colored, sugar-added product with a marketing plan already established.

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Gotta agree with Joe there.

 

La Fee doesn't merely get some lousy ratings. Many deem it downright offensive from both a quality and marketing standpoint. Meanwhile, several of the best absinthes currently being made in the entire world are coming from small producers here in the US. And La Fee costs almost as much as some of these infinitely superior brands.

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First things first, format all your written material. People teNd to tAke rANDOM capitalIZation a LITtle less seriously.

 

 

 

 

SRLSY.

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La Fée.

Product benefits:

Entry-Level taste:

this brand, with its high sugar content

High sugar content? I don't think it contains sugar.

 

I've read the 7 page paper prepared by the students and have already commented a lot (maybe too much!) on TARN. The students seem to be having a problem finding a USP ("unique selling proposition") for La Fée. Without that, they are going to find it difficult to say anything of note with their apparently unlimited advertising budget. Anyone got any USP's for La Fée?

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It's a decent fuel injector/ carb cleaner.

 

It leaves a pleasant licorice smell when used to scour sinks and toilet bowls.

 

Kills fleas.

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The vaguely art-deco eyeball art would be attractive if it didn't vividly remind me of the contents in the bottle. Maybe they could get a rap artist to feature it in a video and put the wrong liquid in the fountain like LTV.

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They will have a difficult time with La Fee as they must make a proposition to the consumer, (USP). Not just words, not just product fluff, not just show window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit." The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique, either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising. The proposition must be so strong that it can move a significant number of people, i.e., pull over new customers to your product and build customer loyalty to the product. Which leads to the point of difference or POD. Therein lies the problem with La Fee. Also keep in mind that a large portion of the cost of La Fee is advertising.

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Like the TV ads for Corona. They say very little but they say alot. I don't drink Corona because of all the stuff you have to have but they have a huge following.

 

Subliminal messages I reckon.

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They must make a proposition to the consumer, (USP) ... Each advertisement must say to each reader: "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit." The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique, either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising. The proposition must be so strong that it can move a significant number of people, i.e., pull over new customers to your product and build customer loyalty to the product. Which leads to the point of difference or POD.

Well put.

 

To digress for a few minutes, it would be interesting to know which absinthe brands do have real USP's/POD's. I have my views, but I'd love to know what others think. And this analysis might also help the students to see where there are gaps (if any) for La Fée.

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I actually have never had the La Fee, but it seems fairly common in NYC. Many bars serving multiple absinthes often seem to have La Fee on the absinthe menu. Not as often as Kübler and St George, but it does appear.

 

It does have the flaming sugar cube going for it. While totally non-traditional, and not authentic, this method appears fairly often. (I know what everyone thinks about this and I agree, but when a customer asks for their absinthe to be prepared this way, even a knowledgeable bartender isn't in a position to tell them they're an idiot.)

 

The way the flaming sugar cube is done in NYC bars is to simply burn off the alcohol before burning the sugar and extinguishing the fire with a stream of water from the fountain. For many bartenders, this is an unnecessary extra step (because it takes longer) regardless of any impact on the flavor. Personally, I don't see the point unless you're a pyromaniac and like to watch the fire.

 

As far as how I market my absinthe it's all based on word of mouth, personal visits by the distiller to the various establishments stocking the product or potentially doing so. Repeat as often as you can. Know the bartenders/mixologists, learn something about spirits and be knowledgeable and truthful. Product demonstrations that show you care about the product. I've been told by retail store owners of product reps (for absinthe) "showing off" their product by pouring some absinthe into a plastic cup and dumping water in it.

 

I always use a Pontarlier glass (with cuts) to show proper watering ratios and use a glass brouilleur or the balancier (huge fun, nearly guaranteed sale). But the end result that the customer drinks has to taste good and be something they would want to drink. When presenting to the spirits buyer for a bar or store that person has to be treated like the end customer, because for the distiller or distributor they are your end customer. But if the product doesn't sell in their store to their customers, you won't get any repeat business no matter how fancy your initial presentation.

 

If you can sell the bar owner or spirits buyer and the staff on your product, then they become your sales people as well. And if the consumer likes what they taste, then they'll drink it again and buy it again.

 

I know this seems obvious, but it doesn't seem to be a business model that many people use. I know it's very old fashioned. Hm, winter's coming. Maybe I should invest in one of those $2700 1890's replica overcoats with the beaver trim...

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The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer.

We're trying to stay on the positive side, remember?

 

It's the greenest absinthe in the world, and it will be when only insects roam the earth.

 

when a customer asks for their absinthe to be prepared this way, even a knowledgeable bartender isn't in a position to tell them they're an idiot.

No, but they are in a position to tell them "We don't do that here. Let's show you the traditional way... now watch the swirly magic..."

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...When presenting to the spirits buyer for a bar or store that person has to be treated like the end customer, because for the distiller or distributor they are your end customer. But if the product doesn't sell in their store to their customers, you won't get any repeat business no matter how fancy your initial presentation.

 

If you can sell the bar owner or spirits buyer and the staff on your product, then they become your sales people as well. And if the consumer likes what they taste, then they'll drink it again and buy it again.

 

I know this seems obvious, but it doesn't seem to be a business model that many people use.

 

I don't know... You've described just about any random day in my life, and that of most distributors of all but the "big brand" beverage alcohol products. This approach is employed regularly with unknown items that are far less arcane than absinthe.

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In NY, there are a total of eight wholesalers, and only two of them serve all of upstate. The two big wholesalers are Southern Wine and Spirits and Empire.

 

So I totally agree that any kind of of specialty spirit or even artisanal/small brand of spirit is promoted the way I mentioned and you reinforced. My discussion with other distillers of other spirits say the same thing.

 

There are so many small craft spirits that have such problems being acknowledged by the public when they're inundated with the marketing for Absolut, blah, blah, blah. The products from Islay seem to be more available than from Anchor Distilling. But that could just be my impressions.

 

I've seen the flaming sugar cube a few times, and it hasn't been always associated with "Czech" brands. Sometimes it's the bartender that thinks that's the way it should be done to "caramelize" the sugar. Sometimes it's just the way the customer wants it, even if it's Kübler. Usually I don't see "Czech" brands in the bars here in NYC. But the flaming sugar cube seems to have taken a life of it's own outside those brands.

 

I just tell people my absinthes are naturally sweet from the anise and they don't require sugar (flamed or not). I've also learned it's important to have an assistant with you at all tastings. The assistant is needed to prepare absinthes, as I've discovered I can't talk and prepare an absinthe at the same time. Especially when there's 30 people waiting.

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...But the flaming sugar cube seems to have taken a life of it's own outside those brands.

 

At the demos with consumers that I have done, inquiries about this were the most common unexpected question I encountered. The originators of this practice have done such a good job of proliferating the idea, that when I would inform some people of it's inauthenticity, I would get that screw-faced look of them questioning my knowledge of the practice, and absinthe!

 

...I've also learned it's important to have an assistant with you at all tastings. The assistant is needed to prepare absinthes, as I've discovered I can't talk and prepare an absinthe at the same time. Especially when there's 30 people waiting.

 

Amen! I've done two well attended consumer events. The second, I thought I had it all figured out (the store expected about 50 - 60 tasters to show in the planned two hours). The tasting ended up going two and a half hours, attended by about 125 people. I was behind the whole time, but fortunately people were cool, and it allowed me to talk about the fact that absinthe politely asks you to slow down, as being one of the characteristics I really enjoy about it. All was good, but I'll never do another open public tasting without an assistant.

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I would high recommend that when pursuing this project you attempt to market… um, your brand of choice, not based on myth or hype and focus solely on absinthe and its tradition. I think (even in the collegiate arena) you’ll get more of an interest when absinthe is marketed and portrayed in its true and historical light, and misnomers are pushed aside.

 

If you try to target just college aged folk you might lose on your message and an entire range of age demographics.

 

Best of luck!

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Just a note to all, I'd asked these guys to post this here, because I thought a lot of the distillers might be interested in sharing some of their marketing stories.

 

I know you said it's too late to change brands, but man, I sure hope you do. :) Honestly, much of the brand specific research you've done wouldn't take too long to compile for another brand, especially if you're working directly with the producers.

 

Anywho, good luck, and I look forward to talking to you soon.

 

Originally posted, and more discussion found, here.

 

Any update guys?

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Drop trying to tout anything special about the product because there isn't. Take the path that so many producers of bland products take, create and sell the life style. Dos XX has "The most interesting man in the world", Corona has their beach comber ads, etc. How about trying to market La Fee as (insert tongue firmly into cheek) bringing the sophistication and refinement of bohemian sub-culture to the average consumer simply by buying this product. In short, show images of your target demographic enjoying La Fee with the message that you can be as cool as these people without having to go to Europe to do it. Perhaps a spokesman a la the Marlboro Man or Spud McKenzie? Yo quero La Fee?

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