LCBO hopes to find new friends in ‘low’ places

The liquor retailer highlights drinks low in alcohol, sugar and calories to help customers meet their new year goals.


The LCBO has been expanding its product selection to reflect increased demand for healthier choices, and it makes those options the focus of a campaign when those considerations are top of mind for more consumers.

“Bring on the New” is a multi-platform campaign running through January that includes digital out-of-home, social and in-store ads to promote lower sugar, lower calorie and lower alcohol products.

Alix Box, chief customer officer with the LCBO, tells strategy it’s the first time the retailer has curated products like these for a campaign and that it “reflects growing consumer interest in wellness and a desire to make informed choices.”

The products highlighted in the Bring on the New campaign are a result of the renewed growth in light beers, the emergence of less sweet ready-to-drink products, supplier innovation and the general lifestyle trend towards wellness and moderation. Box says ready-to-drink offerings including sugar-free seltzers and light beers have grown in popularity over the past few years. When it comes to cocktailing, she says, the brand has seen a trend to lighter mixes like sparkling water with fresh fruit.


According to Box, the start of a new year and trends like the Dry January movement often come with a renewed commitment to wellness, adding that the next generation of customers are more aware of what they’re consuming, where it came from, and how it was made. In a recent YPulse survey, 37% of 21- to 36-year-olds said they planned to participate in “Dry January” this year, up from the 24% who had planned to take part in 2018.

“We also see an opportunity to promote alcohol-free offerings,” Box says.  “There is a lack of awareness that the LCBO carries many flavourful and craft offerings well-suited for those customers looking to lower their alcohol consumption.”

Booze brands are evolving to be more holistic “beverage companies” in response, and segments of the market are going after curious consumers with low- or no-alcohol products. Many millennials are turning to sobriety, but also choosing spirits over beer, with some analysts suggesting the launch of lower-calorie spirits, beer and wine represent some of the biggest opportunities in beverage alcohol.

Campaign elements were devised by Lg2 Toronto, which became the LCBO’s agency of record in February.



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