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8 Amazing Drink Brand Activations

October 6, 2021 by Joel Davidge

73% of consumers say they would pay more for brands they love. Drink brand activations are a key method for companies to connect with customers.

With the “experience economy” booming, companies must work harder than ever to connect with consumers and grow their tribe.

What is brand activation?

Brand activations make the public aware of your brand or product. This is often through a physical pop-up, live activity, or experience.

Ever received free samples at a festival or event? That’s a brand activation.

Been out in town and seen a cool pop-up bar serving cocktails from a specific drink brand. That’ll be a brand activation.

What is the importance of brand activation for drink brands?

First and foremost, activations allow consumers to try out your product, making a future sale much more likely.

Additionally, if the experience is fun and memorable, it’s the first step of creating brand loyalty, turning a potential customer into a brand evangelist.

Agencies will design activations to be visually attention grabbing, leading to shares on social media which will direct new followers to your channels.

You can also leverage successful activations to win press coverage, leading to even wider exposure for your brand.


6 Amazing Drink Brand Activations

Carlsberg’s Best Poster in the World (Probably)

Customers queue up to pour themselves a beer from the Carlsberg poster which incorporates a working beer tap. From the "If Carlsberg Did" drink brand activation

Activations will often give away samples of a product for the public to try, to raise awareness of the brand.

What raises the bar is creating a memorable moment and experience which will last long after the free gift or product is gone.

In this regard, Carlsberg absolutely crushed it.

As part of the famous “If Carlsberg Did” campaign, the beer giants turned a billboard into a working beer tap.

Setting up next to a brewery in trendy Shoreditch in East London guaranteed a crowd of curious, engaged consumers to try out the activation.

Given that this drink brand activation took place in 2015 and we’re still thinking about it, we’d say creative agency Fold7 more than met the brief.

Monkey Shoulder Three Hour Live Stream

A screenshot from the Monkey Shoulder Lock In Live activation by Acalive

Pictured: The Monkey Shoulder Lock In Live Stream. Credit: Acalive

What do brands do when an in person activation is not feasible? You know, due to the whole global pandemic, and the like.

With brands around the world flocking to Zoom and live streams, whisky brand Monkey Shoulder know they needed to do something big to cut through.

Working with creative agency Acalive they created a bespoke streaming portal and live streamed a 3 hour “lock in” with presentations from bar industry legends.

To build the hype, registered guests were sent a personalised gift box. There were pre-show challenges with winners announced as part of the stream.

The professional looking and vibrantly decorated set perfectly matched the Monkey Shoulder brand.

Next time you’re thinking of “just” doing a webinar, check out how they smashed this brief out of the park.

Camden Dial a Beer

Week Nite Beer delivery man

We’ve all had that Tuesday feeling. You look at your phone or calendar and think, surely it’s not that long ‘til the weekend?

If you ever thought it was time that the humble weeknight got some love, then you’re not alone.

Heineken UK and Camden Brewery obviously thought the same when launching their Camden Weeknite beer.

The 3% ABV lager is unfiltered, dry-hopped, and full of flavour.

The lower ABV means that a single 330ml can contains approximately one unit of alcohol, much less than regular beers. Perfect for a mid-week kitchen rave – without the hangover the next morning.

To celebrate the launch of the product, Camden set up a dial a beer campaign with samples of beer delivered to addresses across London, Manchester, and Leeds.

You’ll never guess who they picked to assist with delivering the samples. Here’s a clue.

“Campari Creates” Narrow Boat

The red Campari styled narrow boat in Granary Square as part of the Campari Creates drink brand activation

Campari Creates was a 10 day residency at Granary Square, London.

Created by PR agency Cohn and Wolfe, and produced by Hot Pickle, the activation saw a narrowboat painted in iconic Campari red drawing the attention of passers-by.

The iconic Italian brand set out to tell its story, focusing on three different areas.

Firstly, to pay homage to its Milanese heritage, the area was decorated to recreate the canal district near to Milan.

Next, there were elements to celebrate the brand’s connection to the creative and design community.

And last but not least, the Campari drink was celebrated, with masterclasses, tastings and a brand new Campari and Tonic drink – a response to the gin boom seen across the UK.

Laphroaig Opinions Welcome


You know the saying. “Opinions are like…”

Well, quite.

Whisky brand Laphroaig wanted to embrace this with a series of on-trade activations across 4 UK cities.

Teams of brand ambassadors (supplied by The Cocktail Service) distributed Laphroaig Whisky samples and a Laphroaig cocktail.

As well as recording customer opinions, polaroid selfies of the participants were taken and posted on social media along with their feedback. Their honest, immediate reactions, as well as some very funny facial expressions, caught people’s attention on social media.

Seedlip Drink to the Future

A bus with vinyl wrapped graphics as part of Seedlip's "Drink to the Future" drink brand activation

Seedlip’s botanical inspired bus was certain to grab attention.

In this first major campaign for the alcohol free spirit brand, audiences were encouraged to think about their drinking habits, featuring the line “Drink to the Future”

Devised by agency And Rising the campaign also saw billboards and digital ads tapping into “what the future means for the consumer”

Reyka Runners Club

Runners in the Reyka Runners Strava competition, part of a drink brand activation by Rekya Vodka

In early 2020 Fabiano Latham brand ambassador for Vodka brand Reyka, set up a running club for London bartenders.

Designed to boost confidence during a tricky time for the bar industry, as well as promoting the use of nature and adventure, the group held weekly 5k and 10k runs.

Participants who ran the furthest distance won a paid trip to Iceland and a spot in the Reykjavik Marathon.

A great initiative promoting solidarity within the bartending community, and via custom merch a savvy way to get the Reyka brand in people’s minds.

Red Bull Lab Bar

Brand activation staff at Red Bull Lab Bar activation, Latitude Festival

Red Bull’s recent activation at Wilderness and Latitude Festival saw participants enjoying a cocktail master class in the Red Bull Lab Bar.

The design of the bar, with neon lighting and industrial chic created the perfect area to experiment with flavour and technique.

Across eight days, classes were held for up to 20 guests per session, providing a focus point for thousands of guests passing and encouraging them to check out the Lab Bar.


The Cocktail Service: Drink Brand Activation Agency

The Cocktail Service have been delivering unforgettable experiences for customers since 2009. Our engaging and knowledgeable mixologists, creative drink menus, and national reach via regional hubs means we take a joined up approach to every campaign.

Check out our recent projects, or find out more about our services.

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