‘No Alcohol Means No Fun’: How Clever Creative Can Change the Conversation for Noel Drink Brands
Nineteen percent of people today consider themselves quiet curious, and 28% of ‘college-aged’ Americans have decided to go teetotal. As abstinence, or simply opting out of alcohol occasionally, becomes more mainstream, the hyper-fragmented market for alcohol is fueled by the rise of no- and low-alcohol alternatives.
There’s no question that Zero Alcohol is having a breakthrough moment. A recent case in point: Heineken went all out to promote its long-standing 0% beer with a primetime spot in the Super Bowl ad lineup—never before has the brand offered its no-alk variant to such a large audience. Did not make the hero piece of the campaign, which underlines. Very obvious changes in the beverage market.
“But just because people are choosing to drink less, doesn’t mean they want to sacrifice on the experience,” said John Matthews, senior strategy director at BrandOps, “and with this broad range, new and established players alike will be left out.” Filling up space. Innovation that blurs goodness with wine.”
No and low-alcohol (or NoLO for short) beverages are on the rise, so there is also an opportunity for creatives to push the boundaries in the market with regards to brand, design and positioning.
Matthews rightly insists that “no alcohol should mean no attitude.” Where in the past, the NoLo brand often presented as reserved and functional, more and more alcohol options are showing a feisty personality—proof that you don’t have to buzz to have fun. As an example, Matthews cited BrandOps’ own work on Molson-Coors’ zero-proof cocktail Roxy, which has the line: “Zero Fox Given”. Mathews explained her team’s thinking behind the words: “In a powerful statement to its consumers, Roxy isn’t just showing that NoLow isn’t an option — it’s a choice.”
credit: BrandOps / Roxy
But there has to be more to the identity of the Nolo brand than simply emphasizing the lack of alcohol. While zero alcohol messaging is key to how brands communicate their value proposition from the start, Naji Farkhonde, a senior writer at verbal branding agency Read Words, says that “the problem is that so many brands are leaning into like it’s a unique value proposition when in fact, it isn’t anymore.”
Farkhondeh said that while insisting on zero may work for an established alcohol brand like Heineken, new brands entering the market will have to do more. He said: “Heineken has been an iconic alcoholic beer for generations and generations. You can play into that humor of Heineken without the alcohol, which is why the Super Bowl ad works. I think the new ones coming on the scene With no-alcohol beverage brands, it is more important to create a brand that communicates the spirit of your drink rather than trying to recreate the drinking experience. The NA beverage category is now becoming so large that It’s important to stand out.”
Some of the most successful NoLow brands are carving their own niche, building a spirit around their drink that alcohol can’t deliver.
The additive health benefits are a clear opportunity to bring fresh zest to the category: “Even with a fresh lemon or a squeeze of lime and orange juice, the negative effects of alcohol are often outweighed by the positive effects of the fresh produce in the drink.” There are more,” explained Matthews of BrandOps. “But non-alcoholic beverages can actually benefit those who drink them, one of which is the fruits and natural botanicals used in the recipes.” This opens up opportunities for brands to showcase their natural beginnings by focusing on plants and nature throughout their branding.
“GojiGoji plays with textures and organic shapes to enhance the tropical flavors behind its offering,” Matthews said. “The playful aesthetic is simple and sweet, brimming with imperfect prints and vibrant hues very reminiscent of fruit that bring a delicious punch to a low-alcohol wine.”
Of course, one of the most undeniable benefits of alternative drinking to LoNo is that drinkers can avoid getting drunk and participate in more engaging pursuits – opening up social opportunities beyond clubs, bars and house parties. Instead of balking at how alcoholic beverages might compare to nolo options in traditionally beverage-focused settings, highlight the best and no less alcohol branding and creative ways that a drink can open new doors for fun. Could
Reid Words’ Farkhondeh cited NoLo favorite, Athletic Brewing Company, as the perfect example of a brand that is the protagonist of the experience it provides: “They built a community around this idea of making beer for athletes.” and movement. They are redefining the concept of . beer and sports by shifting the focus from sport watchers to participants. Their tagline #FitForAllTimes captures that sentiment very well, while giving a subtle nod to the fact that Provided that it does not contain alcohol.
John Matthews of BrandOpus summed it up: “The toxic stigma surrounding non-drinkers is changing, away from the ‘no-alcohol, no fun’ label to ‘no-alcohol, no fun’ without a hangover. Would you drink? Want to be able to enjoy . . . with friends in the great outdoors? No alcohol,” he says. “No problem.”
Mathews and Farkondeh both suggested that with the right design and approach, brands could associate NoLo drinks with an aspirational lifestyle that positioned these drinks not just as alternatives to alcohol but as something to be enjoyed in their own right. Is. For creatives, the opportunity is ripe to set the standard for a revolutionary category that prioritizes living life to the fullest.