Management consultants based in Sydney and Hong Kong
Alcoholic Aperol Spritz Cocktail
Tools & Trends

The rise of the Aperol Spritz; how did they do it?

Be seduced by the spritz this summer and experience the escapism that a well-executed marketing campaign creates.

On hot, hazy summer evenings in London, I have noticed a trend. Everywhere, from grassy city parks to rooftop bars, the instantly recognisable flash of a bright orange Aperol spritz can be seen.

It pops in every Instagram photo and works with every filter. It looks good, it tastes good and it refreshes on a hot evening. Originally a wine-based cocktail served as an aperitif in northeast Italy, the Aperol spritz has spread across the globe, sprinkling ice-soaked orange rinds in its wake.

Like all good marketing campaigns, the rising popularity of the Aperol spritz started with a good story. Identifying Aperol as the perfect drink for post-recession Italy, with its affordability, lower alcohol content and natural ingredients, Gruppo Campari promoted the spritz as a “fun aperitivo”, lifting spirits among bar-goers and providing an alternative to heavier spirits. It told a story of positivity: people should go out and enjoy themselves, and this light and refreshing (not to mention photographic) drink is the perfect casual way to enjoy an early-evening gathering.

As it swept the Italian social scene, Gruppo Campari started to dream big and look beyond local shores. It kept the strong Italian connection, creating a sense of old Italian austerity that had survived the tough times. For hot summer evenings on a piazza, it offered the perfect way to whet the palate before an evening of outdoor dining.

From “Summer of Spritz” sampling tours, held at licensed establishments and featuring refurbished Vespas and brand reps sharing the spritz recipe, to luxe ad campaigns with Hollywood actresses, Gruppo Campari threw it all at their spritz campaign. And it worked – they sold the dream.

By focusing on content that highlighted the photographic appeal of the drink, they reached a young audience who valued hits on Instagram photos. As the images of this sparkly tangerine drink started popping up everywhere, they watched their social media following explode. By creating visually appealing recipes for aspiring mixologists, they made it something to aspire to. How do you really make the perfect Aperol spritz? Will you be the one serving them, poolside, to your friends on summer holidays this year?

Across the board, they made it desirable and attainable. Good content marketing makes you feel something, and Gruppo Campari’s marketing efforts made us feel inspired by the inimitable Italian flair for style and fun. It made us feel part of something and in a place where we could only dream of being.

So as you lounge on the terrace of a London bar and sip your Aperol spritz, be transported to twilight on the Amalfi Coast, with the hubbub of other holiday-goers and the anticipation of the evening ahead. Be part of the story.

They photograph particularly well against a blue-sky backdrop – just so you know!

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