Twinkle Twinkle

Mary Lewis

The lights will soon be twinkling on the back bar of a pub near you. Those once-a-year, Christmas, multi-coloured lights, draped over the shoulders and round the necks of bottles and brands, forgotten from one-year-end to the next. Drinks lost on shelf, part of a sad supporting cast to their more famous front-of-bar stars.

How did these once contemporary drinks come to be abandoned and forgotten on dusty shelves, like Toy Story toys? In the world of drinks, you’re only as good as your last pour. And when you stop being poured, you slowly but surely drift to the back of the back where you may remain. A token presence on-shelf, with no call for your name and no demand for your presence at the front of the queue. Advocaat, Galliano and Dubonnet to name but a few, famous names with faded glory.

So, how do we bring them back to front-of-bar and mind? How to start the process of re-invention and re-appraisal at such an important time of year?

1. Change something. Disrupt! Stand out for something unexpected. Do something while waiting for the long overdue re-launch budget you deserve. A change to the packaging is a good place to start. Peel yourself away from the back-of-bar wallpaper you’ve become. Baileys Chocolat Luxe gold bottle made its debut at Christmas, and is now a permanent, successful member of the Baileys portfolio, adding 8.1% to the brand.

2. Be timely. It’s Christmas, the season of goodwill to all men! Find a relevancy at this happy time of year, when people are prepared to re-visit old friends for the sake of ‘auld lang syne’. Advocaat re-discovers snowballs, and Crabbie’s finds friends with a ‘Whisky Mac.’ Both take a trip down from the top shelf to the main bar, if only for a moment. It’s a chance to re-connect and be relevant.

3. Make a friend…The barman is a bridge between you and the consumer. Tell him a story that only he can tell. Why you’ve been away, and why you’re back. Make the barman your conduit to new conversations, create a dialogue. So, as Christmas approaches, don’t let the lights go out on your brand. Find a way to make the most of the time of year. Follow a brighter star.

Happy Christmas!