Beverage School: Awards that are Meeting The Millennial Opportunity

For many companies, monitoring trends with the darn kids these days is a futile effort. For others, like the winners of the 2012 Cass Awards, it’s a significant marketing opportunity.

The Intelligence Group (IG), the publisher of the Cassandra Report and a leading researcher of youth trends, behaviors and preferences in the United States, honored Red Bull’s Stratos Live Jump with Felix Baumgartner and Budweiser’s use of QR Codes as two of 13 winners of the 2012 Cass Awards, which honors exemplary, up-to-date marketing efforts to young consumers.

“We felt that it would be worthwhile to take a step back and bookmark some of the cutting edge campaigns that are leading the way by putting their understanding of young consumers into play in daring and unexpected ways,” IG president Joe Kessler said in a press release.

While Red Bull and Budweiser were the only two Cass Award winners from the beverage industry, the awards identify several other successful, millennial-based marketing ploys as discussed by Nick Shore, MTV’s SVP, at BevNET Live Winter 2012.

IG noted President Barack Obama’s replication of door-to-door vote-getting on Facebook as the best application of peer pressure. Roughly 20 percent of the people who were contacted voted for Obama, and IG says it’s “primarily because the pressure was exerted by someone they knew.” Shore said that millennials were arguably responsible for the outcomes of the past two presidential elections.

“Power; big, big piece of the generation, and they’re very aware of this, very adept to this,” Shore said.

Shore also said that millennials aren’t rebellious like the Baby Boomers that protested Vietnam or angry like Generation X that wanted to smash the system with Kurt Cobain. Rather, millennials want to become a part of something; to rule and interact with a campaign, for example, rather than to follow orders.

Budweiser used this philosophy with its award-winning scheme that helped millennials redefine happy hour. The company adorned a bar with a QR code-enabled clock that allowed consumers to extend the discounts of happy hour by one minute for every Budweiser purchased. According to IG, around 50,000 drinkers had used the clock by the end of the summer to extend happy hour by a sum total of 6,000 minutes.

“We don’t need to break it, we can run it, we can change it, we can game it, we can rewire it behind the scenes and nobody even knows we’ve done it,” Shore said.

For a more on meeting and selling to millennials, check out some of Shore’s talk on capturing the millennial market here:

To watch the presentation in its entirety and view complete coverage of every interview, presentation and panel discussion from BevNET Live Winter 2012 – and learn about a range of other topics regarding the beverage industry – visit, BevNET’s on-demand video learning site (subscription required).