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Summer Marketing Case Study: Aperol

With the weather as nice as this summers, every inch of every pub garden is occupied by consumers
looking to cool down with a refreshing drink!

For years, Pimm’s was everyone’s go-to summer cocktail but there’s a new name on people’s lips
and its bold orange hue is brightening up even the dullest of summer days. The Aperol Spritz – a mix
of Aperol, prosecco and soda served with a slice of orange – is quickly becoming people’s summer
drink of choice.

The man responsible for driving its meteoric rise in the UK is Nick Williamson, marketing director at
Campari UK.

Prior to setting up in the UK the group’s brands were distributed by third parties and marketing for
Aperol was “very low level”, he says. But seeing the opportunity for growth in the market, the
company established a dedicated UK team “which operates like a startup” and ramped up
investment.

“There are something like half a billion servings of prosecco in the UK each year and only a fraction
of those have a splash of Aperol. So if we can go from 2% to maybe 4% or 5% of servings with
Aperol, given the growth of prosecco too, then wow, you’re looking at a monster,” he says.

The growing popularity of the Italian aperitif has also been credited with helping drinks retailer
Majestic Wine swing to profit despite the tough UK market, with sales of Aperol up by 98% last year.
It has also inspired an army of impostors, with Lidl selling an own-brand version called Bitterol and
Jacobs Creek launching a pre-made prosecco cocktail called Aperitivo Spritz last month.

Aperol is the only brand Campari UK advertises using traditional media (predominantly out-of-home)
and it accounts for just 10% of the firm’s overall marketing spend. Generally, it focuses on
experiential activity, events, digital and social media with the goal of driving advocacy and word of
mouth.

“If we play the same game as others and chuck money on the telly we’re just going to get outspent,”
Williamson admits. “We have to do things a bit better and bit different.”

This is a prime example of marketing going right and using natural environmental factors to boost
sales.

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