Liquor Barons General Manager Chris O’Brien has revealed why the WA retailer decided to return to mainstream TV and the surprising categories that are booming – and busting – in store.
The new Happy Holi-WA’s campaign is designed to capture the holiday spirit in WA and promote Liquor Baron’s 78 plus stores as the place to purchase drinks throughout the season.
Running in prime-time slots on Channels 7, 9 and 10, plus multiple digital and social channels until to January 2020, the campaign is the largest integrated media spend in the Group’s history.
It capitalises once again on the well-known General and Baroness characters who are at the heart of the creative strategy.
Here’s what O’Brien (above) had to say about the Group’s summer strategy and the products that are resonating most in WA.
Have the General and Baroness characters been a strong point of difference for you?
The brief was to maintain the Barons’ characters as they have been hugely successful for us. They give our brand a unique face and personality in a competitive space which is cluttered and has little individuality.
What else makes the ads unique?
For our brand we wanted to challenge convention and not just take on the traditional retail battle of product and price. We have taken the approach of focusing on our unique attributes of being a very local independent retailer, coupled with a brand personality that allows us to apply creativity to every aspect of the business – from operations to marketing.
In this Happy Holi-WA’s iteration we wanted to maximise our West Australian lifestyle and our unique idiosyncrasies with an execution which would stick in our customers minds long after the campaign finished.
Through the inclusion of ‘jetty jaunts to Busso’ and ‘chardy’s down in Margy’s’, we have been able to effectively portray the distinct personality of Liquor Barons, celebrating our individuality and pride of being local, while still delivering messages around range, tailored offering and value for money.
What prompted the decision to return to mainstream TV advertising?
Historically we have always assessed our core target markets media consumption habits in the lead up to any campaign, developing a media buying strategy that would not only achieves the greatest cut through but also the greatest brand recall.
Additionally, in our decision-making process we have taken into consideration where there is the least market competition in any given media space.
This has meant we have often changed mediums from mass reach out of home (OOH) placements to integrated strategies of TV, press, digital and social media based on consumer habits.
Most recently legislative changes in the ability to advertise on government assets – buses, billboard sites on crown land – meant we had to review our ability to reach our target audience effectively as the predominate amount of OOH sites were on government owned property. Television, in the end, was the most effective method of achieving mass market reach and frequency.
What are some of the trends you are noticing in Liquor Barons stores in the lead up to Christmas?
Our stores are experiencing a resurgence of customers wanting a more personal experience in store. They value our store owner’s product knowledge and the fact they can guide them to either a favourite style wine or provide them with options for new products that might have just come out in market.
Value and convenience also factor strongly for customers. They want to be able to go to their local store, be offered a range of quality product (particularly West Australian options) and feel that they are getting value for money.
What are the hottest emerging categories for Liquor Barons?
From a trend perspective there is an amazing amount of choice in the industry and it is ever changing in an attempt to gain loyalty from customers and market share.
We are still seeing the craft beer sector grow, in particular local brewers. Interestingly there is ‘generation skipping’ of beer brands – ‘I won’t drink what my dad drank but what my granddad drank is cool’.
Chardonnay is seeing a resurgence especially in the over $20 category – under $20 is struggling. There is a return of SSB/SBS blends at the expense of Pinot Gris and lower-priced Chardonnay.
As we move into the summer months the lighter style reds like Pinot Noir and Grenache are popular, but interestingly wine in cans is getting little traction.
Our love of all things craft extends to gin with boutique distillers gaining a cult-like following in particular “Giniversity”.
As the industry moves to broad reaching products, non-alcoholic alternatives (beer, wine and spirits) are emerging. These are popular for those who want to feel like they are drinking a quality product but without the alcohol to those who simply want to watch what they are drinking.
Watch the Liquor Barons ad below: