Moet Hennessy USA has some really old brands: Among its 12 spirits Dom Perignon was created in 1668, Moet & Chandon was established in 1745 and Ardbeg came to be in 1815. Therein lies the challenge to keep the brands fresh and engage younger customers.
“To be relevant today our brands must appeal to Millennial multiculturals,” Manny Gonzalez, senior director of multicultural programs at Moet Hennessy USA, said at the ANA Multicultural Conference today. “This is our consumer target. Forty percent of Millennials are multicultural.”
This group’s lifestyles, values and interests are embedded in the company’s core marketing strategy.
“What we are talking about is making sure that each of the brands in the portfolio are executing a universally appealing strategy,” he said. “That everything is rooted in a single core brand strategy.”
To execute on that strategy, Moet Hennessy focuses its efforts where large populations of multicultural Millennials live. Those include urban markets in California (67%), Texas (62%), Florida (52%), Georgia (51%) and New York (49%).
Social and digital are the main communication channels. Forty-five percent of the marketing budget is dedicated to digital this year and Gonzalez expects that number to rise for 2016.
The strategy also calls for engaging Millennials emotionally and going out with messaging that is culturally relevant, not just based on language.
“It’s not about pounding over someone’s head some cultural elements,” he says. “Sometimes the most impactful is a cultural wink. You don’t want to come across as patronizing or alienating a certain segment that you’re trying to reach, so a cultural wink might be the most impactful.”
Gonzalez outlined Moet Hennessy’s five key tenets for marketing:
He used the example of Hennessy and its more than 2-year partnership with multi-platinum recording artist Nas. Watch the latest 30-second spot.
“He has unparalleled credibility from limited marketing exposure,” Gonzalez said. “The audience embraced Nas because he brought us the most authenticity. He allowed the brand to power the example of the “Never Stop. Never Settle.” platform. We tested him in key marketers against Hispanic and Asian Millennials and he was universally embraced because of the history of his talent. He passed consumers critical sniff test.”
2. Inclusive appeal
Moet Hennessy taps sports to broaden and deepen its Millennial reach.
The NBA is global and very multicultural. It has universal appeal to Millennial multicultural consumers. Hennessy and the Cleveland Cavaliers partnered with a common purpose. The NBA for the last 11 years has been drawing attention to black heritage through celebrations in January and February, Gonzalez said. That made a good match for Hennessy, which celebrates Black History Month. The partnership played out across POP, events at Cavaliers home games and other marketing efforts.
“We didn’t want to spend zillions on having a full blown league sponsorship, but if there was a unique opportunity that fit with our brand strategy we would take it,” he says.
3. Expansive reach
Using a popular figure who has long tentacles as an influencer can offer a brand great reach. Latinos and baseball go together, Gonzalez said. To that end the company welcomed Dominican baseball player Hanley Ramirez back to Boston as a Red Sox player. There was a Hennessey-branded event around the campaign, “Never Stop. Never Settle.” and tweets about the brand message from Ramirez.
If a James Bond film isn’t mainstream, I’m not sure what is. In the 2015 film “Spectre,” a Mexican bond girl appears for the first time. Stephanie Sigman also has roles in “Miss Bala” and “Narco.” Belvedere vodka partnered with Sigman, who appears in the opening sequence of the film.
“We promoted it through online video and featured a 30-second TV spot with Stephanie and the behind the scenes video where she talks about working with Belvedere and her favorite martin. And featured in POS displays.
To integrate the largest champagne brand in the U.S., Veuve Clicquot, marketers made sure to tie with events that were cultural relevant. For example, it tied to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with VIP events and extended those events to key on-premise accounts. It is also in its third year sponsoring a benefit for El Museo del Barrio in New York City.
And last year, it held an event in Los Angeles with UNICEF and invited Mario Lopez to elevate the Mexican-American essence.
“It has to be honest and sincere,” Gonzalez said. “You can grow your audience by incorporating your history in a culturally relevant program.”