The super premium vodka brand plans to recruit “Instagram Reporters’ to take pictures of events throughout 2014 after claiming consumers have been doing so voluntarily over the last six months. Belvedere first launched its page in 2012, and while it has amassed around 5,000 followers to date, the brand claims it wants to use the channel to amplify its experiential, on-trade and sponsorship activity moving forward.
Nick Ambridge, Belvedere’s senior brand manager, says the platform allows it to create buzz around its event through user-generated posts. While harder to quantify than “traditional likes or hits”, Instagram could play a key role in how the brand promotes its events rather than relying on “PR coverage and press photos”, he adds.
It follows the unveiling of Instagram’s in-stream ad units that are currently being tested in the US and set to go live in the coming week. Ambridge said there were no plans to run any adverts on the platform yet, but added as “we move into next year we’ll see how we can intelligently use different digital mediums”. Alcohol brands have been slow to adopt the channel due to age affirmation, which was only added in 2012 when the majority of the industry was focused on Facebook and Twitter.
Ambridge says: “We’ve found that customers over the past six-to-twelve months were engaging with us on Instagram without us really taking an active part. It’s still a nascent platform for us. It’s about prioritising where we’re spending our ad budget and at the moment that’s still very much the larger channels.”
The Instagram push builds on the brand’s work with London city guide Urban Junkies from earlier this year where it gave competition winners the chance to act as reporters for the brand at cocktail and fashion parties. The pics were then used in the media site’s daily newsletter with Belvedere claiming it generated insight from some 80,0000 recipients on how the brand is perceived in the UK. It said similar initiatives with media owners could be struck in 2014 as part of an upcoming global campaign to push the heritage and lifestyle credentials of the brand.
The UK element of the campaign will be focused on expanding the brand’s presence outside of London, a move first started last year, with mass-reach cinema and on-trade channels taking up the bulk of its media outlay.