Knowledge: Sector insight - brand and agency spotlight

Kopparberg cider, Pernod Ricard and agency PS Live share their experiential marketing highlights from this year and discuss the challenges facing the sector.

Rob Calder, head of marketing, Kopparberg cider

Our sole focus this year has been on the Kopparberg Urban Forest that ran in Dalston during July. We landed an urban forest in a car park for five weeks, and hosted UK and Swedish music acts and street food traders. We worked with Mama Group, which produced the event and arranged the acts, and the venue owner was the Bootstrap Company, a charity that focuses on social enterprises and start-ups.

For us, experiential activity is about ownership. There are always opportunities to be a drinks partner at events. We'll consider everything, but with our own events we can really deliver our communications objectives.

We want to extend the Urban Forest but will take our time to make sure we deliver an even better event next year. That doesn't mean we can't turn things round fast - the event in Dalston was delivered in eleven weeks. It comes down to good people and good teams trusting each other.

Nick Tether, head of alcohol, PS Live

Due to the nature of the product, it is always a safe bet to partner or sponsor. Sport and music are big in this arena - Budweiser has ties to football in the UK and music globally, while Stella Artois has sponsored events such as Wimbledon and The Open.

It's not all about taste or presentation. The savvy consumer wants a sense of ownership and will lean towards brands with provenance and integrity.

Social media is huge for alcohol brands in terms of cultivating a community. Ensuring an experiential event lives beyond its geographical space and the date provides far more value.

The big opportunity will be driving trial and sales via experiential. That can be purchases in the on and off-trade, but also via e-commerce and m-commerce. Smartphone apps for the on-trade make it easier for consumers to get drinks, and speeds up service for bars as there's no need for card machines or the admin involved with bills, change and receipts.

Kenny Hyslop, Head of experiential, Pernod Ricard

The events we've run this year include Campo Viejo Streets of Spain, Jacob's Creek's sponsorship of Wimbledon and Malibu at Ibiza Rocks.

The most challenging was Streets of Spain. It attracted 350,000 visitors over four days - the planning and logistics had to be watertight. We smashed our key performance indicators on numbers expected to attend, and when this soared we had to make sure we had enough produce and wine for everyone.

The biggest challenges we face in the alcohol sector are around the competitive set. The industry is not only competing with other brands for share of voice, but also from within the entire FMCG sector as a whole. Experiential marketing is prevalent - it's so important for consumers to try your product. Getting the brand in hand can be a make-or-break moment, so it's important that the events created by Pernod Ricard UK and its brands are of the highest level of quality and creativity.

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