It’s all downhill for Social Lite Vodka, so to speak

From Shopper Marketing Report: Snow tubing and koozie promos are meant to keep demand for RTD strong in the winter.


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Ready-to-drink cocktails are typically seen as a warm-weather drink, but Social Lite Vodka is hoping promo around downhill snow tubing will resonate with winter sport enthusiasts and position itself for a future growth opportunity.

The RTD pioneer is giving away winter snowtubes at point of purchase in B.C. and Alberta, alongside koozies as part of its holiday winter 12-pack in the B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario markets.

Reaching out to outdoor enthusiasts is part of the brand’s outreach to consumers who want pre-mixed drinks that fit their healthy and social lifestyle. And the approach seems to be working: the company claims sales have increased 77% even during this outlier pandemic year, and it now owns 25% of the hard seltzer market share at Ontario’s LCBO.

Pushing that approach into winter is, according to Social Lite founder Neetu Godara, a result of brainstorming around its brand positioning of “be social, live light” and attracting a healthy and physically fit demo in an upcoming winter season when indoor physical activities may not be available.

“How can we get people to stay active in a socially distanced and responsible way?” Godara asks, saying the answer is the snowtube, which is inherently a socially distanced activity that takes place outdoors with one person per tube.

Godara says the messaging emphasizes that it’s a lifestyle brand as a pioneer in the category. But as the market matures, there are tonnes of vodka sodas on the shelf, and Social Lite can move past education to higher-order brand values like encouraging healthy living and the idea that you can be social, but still be hardworking and fit.

The koozie collectible 12-pack, meanwhile (below), with its snowy Alpine backdrop design, is another way to make the season fun. A more mainstream marketing promotion like a koozie, Godara says, is reflective of the fact that RTDs are not just forcing volume from beer and coolers, but taking inspiration from them.

social lite

This effort was designed by freelance designers and Social Lite’s in-house digital marketing team, supported by spPR.

According to Godara, the better-for-you category is showing no signs of slowing down, which is amazing, she says, as it’s such a relatively new category. And part of keeping growth going is leading at shelf with robust shopper offerings, even though other experiential efforts have been paused due to the pandemic, as it’s key to making sure the product is findable with a great place in the store, and that the brand maintains great inventory.

“As a small business, our approach to marketing is from in-store out,” Godara says, adding that hasn’t really changed as a result of the pandemic. “We fully fund our trade marketing and shopper marketing and want to do an absolutely bang up job in retail.”

The giveaway is being supported with case cards, ballot boxes, and backer cards for retail partners. Godara says Social Lite is also hiring a national sales team to build distribution, and she believes this will make Social Lite the only solely RTD company that has its own national sales team.